100 Gecs Deliver More Gecs Than Ever on ‘10,000 Gecs’
On their new album, 10,000 Gecs, the hyperpop 100 Gecs face down life after going viral with their breakthrough album, 2019’s brilliantly realized 1000 Gecs. It’s a challenge familiar to every extremely online disruptor, from Death Grips and Slayyyter to Danny L Harle of PC Music. Do you double down on the manic internet fusillade, or moderate your antics into tastefully eccentric pop bait? It’s the punk conundrum, Gen Z style.
To be sure, the second album from Dylan Brady and Laura Les contains plenty of genre-blurring craziness. “Billy Knows Jaime,” which briefly alludes to Aerosmith’s 1989 hit “Janie’s Got a Gun,” juts from rap-rock satire to death-metal gibberish in a three-minute workout. “I Got My Tooth Removed” balances a third-wave ska singalong with a doo-wop-style coda. But Les’ vocals are clearer by design, and the music often defaults into trap stomps and emo-punk churn. 10,000 Gecs will inevitably earn detractors who feel the group has dulled its edge. That may be for the best. 1000 Gecs was a singular hyperpop peak that the band is wise to not try to repeat.
As if to signal 100 Gecs’ ambition, 10,000 Gecs opens with the famed THX Deep Note, followed by a Michael Bay-size epic in “Dumbest Girl Alive.” “I took 10 Advils today/I’ve got bruises on my thighs/Plus, I gave away my brain/I’m the dumbest girl alive,” sings Les, her voice often collapsing into glitchy distortion. Les, who handles most of the vocals, is a kinetic frontwoman who sounds as if she’s about to laugh (Brady sings as well, most prominently during parts of “Frog on the Floor”). Her ready-to-rage yelping makes 10,000 Gecs feel relentless. Yet her apparent glee masks real pathos. On “Most Wanted Person in the United States,” the duo parody media outrage: “Yeah, I’m a real killer,” Les sings drolly. “I’ve got Anthony Kiedis sucking on my penis.” “757” is weighed by youthful angst and “boulders in my shoulders,” while “Dumbest Girl Alive” ends with a deflating admission of despair: “Can you show me how to cry?”
10,000 Gecs ultimately rises and falls on songcraft. “Doritos & Fritos” is a burst of surrealism and dance-punk angularity that lyrically pairs “eating burritos” with “Danny DeVito.” But “Hollywood Baby” feels too literal in its rebel-girl sentiment, even as the duo mock the idea of celebrity. Still, punters will find plenty of fun singalong chants to repeat when 100 Gecs hit the festival circuit. 100 Gecs haven’t lost their sense of joy, even as they codify their innovations into something resembling normality.
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