Chronophage Th’ Pig Kiss’d Album LP

CHRONOPHAGE’s 2018 debut LP Prolog for Tomorrow skillfully synthesized a whole host of outsider pop influences from the past half-century (New Zealand’s Flying Nun/Xpressway scenes, scratchy UK post-punk, the weirder strains of vintage college rock, ’90s lo-fi indie, etc.) without it ever falling into a haphazard pastiche, and its follow-up Th’ Pig Kiss’d Album only further refines that kitchen-sink approach—a band clearly operating on a contemporary DIY punk wavelength and all that goes along with that, but sounding more like a deep cut from the late ’80s Homestead roster alongside SALEM 66 and MY DAD IS DEAD or something. “Absurdity” and “Any Junkyard Dreams” tilt toward brittle and skittish art-punk, with bassist Sarah’s soft-but-deadpan vocals drifting out over of squeals of damaged keys, “Talking Android” and “Siren Far Away” are slightly twangier Texan takes on the HUMAN SWITCHBOARD’s wiry ’60s garage/’80s post-punk duality, and “Heartstone” starts out in hyper-minimalist YOUNG MARBLE GIANTS/MARINE GIRLS territory and ends up (not far away) in the K Records-adjacent early ’90s pop underground. If you spent your formative years staying up all night to obsessively record tapes of college radio shows and/or 120 Minutes episodes (or if you imagine that you had, if you’re not of a certain age), it all makes perfect sense.

Chronophage Prolog for Tomorrow LP

I’m horrifically late writing this review. I’ve been putting it off because I’m so afraid I won’t be able to do justice to this brilliant, unique, compelling debut LP by Austin’s CHRONOPHAGE, one of the best and most interesting bands in the world right now. This record sounds like everything I want when I see the tag “DIY” applied to a band: it’s chaotic but confident, it’s off-kilter but unbelievably catchy, and it sounds like it could have been made only by them. They’ll probably get a lot of comparisons to the Messthetics compilations, and that’s fair (although I think the Homework series would be more apt, since CHRONOPHAGE sounds unmistakably American to my ears), but it’s also frustrating. CHRONOPHAGE doesn’t sound like the past; they sound like the future. Or at least they sound like the future that I want to live in. Prolog for Tomorrow gets my strongest possible recommendation.