Beneva vs. Clark Nova: Dramadadatic
How is Annie Records / Fenêtre Records

That the root of Dramadadatic is ‘dada' is clearly no accident. On the follow-up to their celebrated debut album Sombunall of last year, Frank Benjamin Finger (Beneva) and Rudi Simmons (Clark Nova) up the anarchy ante in a dozen songs that find the duo channel-surfing through a multitude of styles in whipcrack style. To their credit, the Oslo-based duo haven't allowed any pressure that might have accrued from the critical success of Sombunall to tame their madcap tendencies, and the new material ends up being a no-holds-barred, thirty-nine-minute ride.

“A Schlemihl and Human Yo Yo” kickstarts the album in surreal manner, with acoustic guitar strums alternating drunkenly amidst voice garble and beat splatter before splintering into fragments. Powered by an analog synth-driven snap, “Koala Sideburns” exudes the kind of joyous exuberance one might have encountered on an early Warp release, while fulminating beats turn “Turning More Zebra-like” into one of the album's hardest-hitting tracks. “Face Like a Metronome” offers a diseased take on instrumental hip-hop, “Elevator Shoes” underlays acidy synth babble with breakbeats, and “Silenzio Stampa” crawls through a writhing swamp of mangled voices and beat convulsions. With the material so hyperactive and sonically dense, the largely undoctored sound of a piano in “Inside His Vagina” can't help but catch one's attention. The material's rambunctious spirit persists from one song to the next until the closing moments of “Quick Thinking Inmates” where, one by one, the instruments appear to retire to their respective corners.

With one exception, all of the songs are under five minutes, and most make their point efficiently and then step aside—there's no filler, in other words. There is, however, wackiness aplenty, as Beneva vs. Clark Nova dig into trippy ditties like “Dog Does Eight Impersonations” and “Once Youth With a Crispy Beard.” Peel away the weirdness, however, and you'll find plenty of melodies sweet and simple enough to counter the lunacy.

December 2009