Philly’s Writing Squares have been hammering home a brew of fried-synapse psych, skronked jazz burnouts, and kosmiche zone clearers for a while now, but they’ve never threaded them together in quite as ambitious a spread as they have on Chart For The Solution. Over the course of two LPs the record pushes the boundaries their sound into an epic that’s as lacerating and fraught as any records you’re bound to encounter this year. They place extensively reworked recordings that have been marinating on their drives alongside fresh brain fry. The latter raw from the acid bath and still twitching on the platter. Credit goes to Trouble in Mind for this one, as most labels might balk at a band coming in with a record that surfs the static this hard and lets more than one track scrape the ether. The lengths here push between ten-minute suites and side-long statements. They find the infinite when they’re not hocking out two-minute Stooges alley bruisers to cleanse the sonic pores between sound baths.
The band has always used Kevin Nickles’ sax with abandon, slicing through the listener’s psyche with blood-drenched bleats, and he’s brought a particularly sinister set throughout CFTS. The arsenal grows, though, as it has been over the past couple of offerings. Flutes prog out the possibilities of “The Abyss is Never Brighter,” and “Epilogue.” Synths have become particularly prevalent as they pursue a longer cosmic scrape, Nickles’ runs fighting with Daniel Provenzano’s fuzz-wracked bass for dominance. The band manages to become the late-night airwaves incarnate. They are the mind-expansion primer pack that might have haunted a mixtape slipped to you buy the kind of friend that opened the doors of perception in college. They are the jaw drop decision to run a side of Suicide > Cluster > Stooges > Hawkwind > Pharaoh > Contortions. What’s striking is that this record feels as true to the band’s ethos as they’ve ever been. It’s a record that’s as “them” as they’re ever going to be — threading the invisible itch for all its worth.
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