(Three One G, 2001)
I’ve seen some lousy Black Dice shows. I’ve heard some lousy Black Dice records. But there have been enough hints of quality over the years – like those ten minutes of dense dub-style percussion during an otherwise grim set last summer! – to keep me coming back for more. “Peace in the Valley” reminds me that this is folly on my part. Packaged with a 40-page book of artwork – !! – the single is a directionless mess of beats and blats, occasionally impressing through sheer noise-muscle, but more often infuriating with its lack of focus. The A-side’s drum-machine gallop and arhythmic guitar (synth?) scratches never build into anything worthwhile; there’s some tension there, but it’s allowed to dissipate as the song toddles along with its predictable “noise rock” moves. “Ball” is at least a slight improvement, featuring some interesting beats and obnoxious electronic vomitry that bludgeons the way it oughta. Still: nothing you can’t hear pulled off far more effectively by other groups. Far cheaper, too, as the extravagant packaging on this thingy sees to it that your wallet gets punished as much as your ears do. I WANT TO LIKE YOU, BLACK DICE, BUT IT’S JUST NOT WORKING OUT.