The first collaboration between the always recording freak rocker Ty Segall and the monster noise drummer Brian Chippendale (Lightning Bolt) as Wasted Shirt is titled Fungus II and the vociferous record oscillates between artistic/experimental outings and ripping rawness, sometimes measure to measure.
The band opens with the driving clanging feedback of “All Is Lost” and while the chaos and fury is alive from the start, things can feel a bit thin without added low end. That bottom arrives for the slower “Eagles Slaughters Graduation” and the grooving industrial flavored “Zeppelin 5” complete with its “da-da-da” vocals. Fungus II’s standout number, however, is “Fist is my Ward”, a crazy noise infused calliope of madness with digital flourishes and soaring layers of experimental sound incorporating the best of both artists.
Wasted Shirt loves to frolic in sonic pastures such as on the artsy “Harsho” which stretches out and flows before the duo slip in a rusty razor blade to the ear during “Double The Dream”, a guttural punk assault. That juxtaposition can be jarring, but jarring is at the centerpiece of this whole pairing. The title tracks yelps with disjointed appeal and as the acoustic moving to ripping electric of “The Purple One” proves; staying on your toes throughout is essential.
Closer “Four Strangers Entered The Cement at Dusk” wraps up all of the groups intentions, playing as a horror movie theme song to start with ominous undertones, before slamming mid-song into a blaring “This Is Your Fault” punk outburst. A metal scratching finale screeches without lubrication to close as the duo ends their bizarre sonic journey.
Coming after two excellent releases from their main acts in 2019, (First Taste and Sonic Citadel respectively) Wasted Shirt might not immediately hit the expected highs, but the anything-can-happen jam session feeling hints that the duo has more to offer in the future and Fungus II is just the cap and stem of a larger organism underneath.