The Disco Biscuits’ new album Otherwise Law Abiding Citizens took only two weeks to record. Their previous record, Planet Anthem, took nearly four years. Incredibly, within such a short span of time, the band has catalyzed a blistering piece of work that offers the most accurate studio representation of their legendary live sound. While 1998’s The Uncivilized Area contains the single greatest studio track of their career (AC2B) and 2001’s They Missed the Perfume stands as a brilliantly realized electronic experiment, Otherwise Law Abiding Citizens contains the most raw power.
“The Great Abyss” starts off the album, slowly coalescing into a vibrant electro-dub rock beat before growing toward a steadier tempo. When Allen Aucion (the patron saint of robotic drum fills) drops a throbbing kick drum, it’s as if the sound waves could envelope and carry you into a sea of writhing bodies. Aucion’s masterful beats propel the music onward while Marc Brownstein’s melodic bass anchors it. When Aron Magner drops a patented synth-line during the bridge, the band begins to fire on all cylinders. After the Biscuits hit a groove, Jon Gutwillig soars in to cap off the jam with his trademark shredding. No one in the livetronica world is as creative and audacious as the Biscuits.
“Spraypaint” has been played since 2002 but is being laid to disc for the first time and represents the fist pumping rock ‘n roll the band has always excelled at. Gutwillig plays intricate and delicate lines in the composed section before the band lands in a break-beat bliss-rock jam. It’s a triumphant and rousing salute to the grand moments the band would typically create on stage.
The “Bombs” and “Neck Romancer” combination in the middle of the album showcase the sound the band has perfected with Aucion on drums- its a hybrid of charging digital dance party and ecstatic rock n’ roll. The band has never lost their ability to shape shift through electronic genres with precision and grace before storming headfirst through glorious peaks.
“Portal to an Empty Head” may give the aforementioned “AC2B” a run for its money as the best studio track the band has ever produced. Searing digital dub-rock cuts to the very heart of the Biscuits; a place where Brownstein’s tar-thick bass tones dance with Aucion’s android beats. Magner offers yet another in his career-long stream of addictive melodies before the band pulses through a massive break beat vs. dub battle.
The end of the album contains more heavy, throbbing rock anthems in “Catalyst”, “We Like to Party”, and “Lunar Pursuit”. There is a constant dynamism at work on Otherwise Law Abiding Citizens. The band will circle back inside a drum break and build up yet again, deconstructing a jam just to hit you harder when the kick drum dive bombs into your chest. As a whole, this body of songs shines with impeccable, dynamic and grounded production, all accomplished at a full-throttle pace. If you’ve ever felt a Biscuit peak hit and responded by thrusting your fist victoriously in the air, this album is for you.