Is it possible to be a throwback act to a sound that too few people actually heard when it was new? On their self-titled debut album, Bilge Rat are looking to find out. The New Haven band’s brand of jazz-inflected indie rock chaos is the sort of thing we haven’t heard since Isaac Brock and the rest of Modest Mouse floated on past the days when they’d scream about strip malls and Orange Julius.
Every song on Bilge Rat — which we’re premiering here a week before it drops — sounds like a bit of a magic trick. Grooves are pulled seemingly out of nowhere and cacophonous bits of noise morph into melodies before your ears. Through it all, frontman Michael Kusek is our nasal consummate showman, remaining calm with a steady delivery that rarely raises to the level of a shout even as the band crashes, clangs and wheezes around him. After all, the trick is only surprising to us. He’s just here to make sure we don’t freak out too bad when he pulls the sheet off.
In short, this eight-song set is fantastic and you owe it to yourself to give it a listen below.
Bilge Rat is out on March 24. The album is available for pre-order at their Bandcamp.