Black Dice’s songs are patchwork structures bursting with found sound and grating scraps of noise, evoking trash sculptures cobbled together from expressly antagonistic parts. At times, when Repo picks up steam and the racket comes hard and fast, it’s like listening to a rockslide; at others, when shredded bits of effect-laden noise tumble into a languorous rhythm, there’s the feel of windblown trash. These kind of sonic calamities can be either beautiful or deafening, depending on your outlook, and even among those with sympathies toward the former the album stands to be divisive. More than most of Black Dice’s prior material, Repo provides little familiar ground and not much to grab hold of.
The album is fabulous, however, for the way it quilts together disparate flecks of sound into patterns that, though often incongruous, are replete with smaller connections. Multiple listens help ease the transition from a vague slurry of discordant noise to a buzzing field of fulgent sound bites, reconstituted and repositioned. Headphones and high volumes also help. At heart, this lies on the more forgiving side of the noise spectrum, spinning these threads into warped but inherently basic dance structures. It creates an almost catchy coerciveness in songs like “Ultra Vomit Craze,” which settles into a skuzzy, circling repetition, and “Glazin,” which beats with white noise and fuzzy samples.
The only negative here is a lack of structure between songs, which makes Repo feel like something dropped in a pile at your feet. Short sound tapestries like “Whirligig,” which whizzes by in 21 seconds, butt up against longer pieces like “La Cucaracha,” creating a thrown-together feel. This hurts the album as a whole, but does little to affect individual songs, which thrum with the lively clatter of garbage reborn.