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99 Ta Life
LP $21.95

05/17/2024  

SSR 139 


***Woodstock 99 follows up 2022’s Super Gremlin with another deep dive into Cleveland’s hallucinogen-soaked hardcore underbelly. While Woodstock 99 typically delights in obliterating your expectations, you could get through almost the whole A side of 99 Ta Life thinking they’ve made a conventional (for them, at least) hardcore punk record. And their hardcore chops have only sharpened since Super Gremlin, with brilliant, memorable riffs, powerful and confident playing, and uniquely demented vocals. However, even at their most straightforward, you never know where Woodstock 99’s songs will go, darting between parts in ways that surprise you on the first listen, but sound perfectly natural once you’ve acclimated to the group’s cracked logic. While that logic colors the hardcore tracks on the A side, on the B side, Woodstock 99 charges headlong into the void. “99 Problems” is a psychedelic ramble that wanders through a succession of modes before a sudden explosion brings the track to an abrupt end. Closer “Za Rat King” is the masterpiece, though, an eight-minute journey composed and performed with the assistance of artificial intelligence where a hooky four-bar phrase haunts a glitched-out universe encompassing a dizzying parade of genres and musical traditions. Like a lot of Woodstock 99’s music, it really interrogates the boundary between genius and idiocy. So strap in, grab Woodstock 99’s hand, and follow as they lead us even further down the rabbit hole.

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