Gloop – Crayon Sun Review

What vibe are you getting from this cover? It’s ominous, right? Then you pair it with the onomatopoeic name Gloop1 and the title straight out of a kindergartener’s drawing. The juxtaposition of these is intriguing, a horror-esque play on what we define as innocent and childlike, comical even, and distilling it into a singular distorted figure. Drenched in red, its disproportionate face shrouded by ropes or linens or cloths, and its mouth twisted into an expression of pain or fury, surrounded by the moniker and album name splattered unspectacularly above it. Taken as a whole, it’s strange, disturbing, and ultimately extremely confusing. What, then, can we expect from Gloop?

Gloop is a trio from West Virginia but currently based in Baltimore, having released two full-lengths since 2017. A truly disconcerting brew of noise rock by way of no-wave with a healthy dose of bluesy rock and upbeat punk, Crayon Sun takes Gloop to darker depths with in-your-face dissonance, angular riffs, and a defiant punk attitude. A shapeshifting beast both apathetic, frenetic, and abrasive, Gloop channels Swans, Oxbow, Daughters, Shudder to Think, and The Pixies while still feeling a tad like a really rowdy Sex Pistols concert. Aesthetically as confusing and demented as its cover suggests, prepare to have your brain fried, because ultimately, Crayon Sun is a fun piece of dissonant noise rock whose promise outweighs its content.

Crayon Sun‘s greatest asset is its striking balance of abrasion and apathy, fitting snugly into noise rock’s demented but evasive aesthetic. Feeling remarkably like The Narcotic Story-era Oxbow with more no-wave to boot, Gloop utilizes simplistic punk or blues chord structures lethally laced with dissonance and noise to create a fever dream in audio form. “Old Man Flower” is one of the best examples, its central riff feeling like one of Dead Kennedys‘ slower moments, while surf rock strums and noisy warbles interrupt. While simplistic, it borders on hypnotizing, as vocalist/guitarist Dominic Gianninoto’s wails, croons, shrieks, and shouts break through the monotony with nearly uncomfortable swagger and charisma. Recalling Oxbow‘s Eugene Robinson’s bluesy tone, he also embraces a nearly Elvis Presley-meets-Jim Morrison-meets-Steve Priest-on-shrooms feel with warbling howls and insane vibrato. Tracks like “Walking Sideways,” the title track, and “A Wildflower” focus on arguably basic rock riffs and rock-solid bass-lines that morph into dissonant vistas of psychedelic melodies that seem to barely hang onto a frail thread of sanity, as Gianninoto’s vocals serve as a tour guide to your descent into madness. “You’re Home” and “Transfixed” are absolutely unhinged forays of dissonant repetition that rely on punishing melodies and raucous drums to create its relentlessly fiery insanity.

What’s frustrating about Gloop, however, is its stubbornness in channeling its various influences rather than creating a sound all its own. Taking after the Oxbow template of dissonant blues and rock instrumentation with demented vocals, Gloop does very little different, offering noise rock in the ways that many have without the distinctive flavors. Crayon Sun offers punk but not as punky as Lightning Bolt, no-wave but not as no-wave as Swans, noisy riffs but not as dissonant as Wolf Eyes, and dark atmosphere but not as evocative as White Suns. While it could be argued that they balance their influences for a unique take, it can also be seen as lack of commitment. Also, there are tracks that seem to lag in the grand scheme of Gloop‘s package of flavors: “Shadows” and “Losing Time,” in particular, pump the brakes on Crayon Sun‘s energy. In general, Gianninoto takes center stage with wild riffs and gross croons, while drummer Max Detrich and especially bassist Blake Douglas are lost in the fold.

In a strange turn of events, Gloop manages to evoke its cover, title, and moniker in a noise rock foray into strangeness. Feverish, dissonant, and mind-flaying, it’s a fun piece of obnoxious escapism for the joys of painful music. Clocking in at a more-than-reasonable thirty-one minutes, Crayon Sun is indicative of noise rock’s evasively unique aesthetic and the gleeful corruption of its source material. Inconsistent and more a culmination of its influences rather than a unique flavor, it’s solidly performed and consistently written, allowing dissonance and theatricality to dominate. You need an ointment that cures what ails? Try Gloop. It burns.


Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Grimoire Records
Websites: gloopband.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/gloopband
Releases Worldwide: August 20th, 2021

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