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Mahjongg Kontpab

  • Words: Joe Colly
  • Label: K
  • XLR8R Rating: 7/10

A slightly odd fit at indie mainstay K Records, Chicago’s Mahjongg looks to blaze new territory on their second record, Kontpab, by combining motorik rhythms with a tribal-influenced (think ’80s Talking Heads) classic indie aesthetic. It’s an ambitious formula, and when these disparate elements coalesce, like on album standout “Wipe Out,” the band achieves an effective, trance-like insistence, though the recipe doesn’t always work. Often, the excessively choppy sonic components are just too broken up to ever unite. That might be Mahjongg’s intention–to maintain a herky-jerky quality–but it makes the record’s melodic moments, while engaging and rewarding, too infrequent. A few minutes into Kontpab’s final track, “Rise Rice,” the band pulls off an excellent tribal breakdown, but it comes too late. Definite points for creativity here, at the very least.

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