The Locust’s beauty has always come in finesse and intricacy. Thirty
seconds of pitiless hurricane squall. Epic, labyrinthine guitar licks
deconstructed, flipped ass-backwards, and compressed into
two-second-long baby snake squiggles. Dainty ticka-ticka-tickas of
hummingbird cymbal taps, followed by 80 hammer smacks squeezed into a
heartbeat. But just as America has changed since The Locust hatched
back in ‘95, so it goes with their sound. The band’s 2003 Anti- debut,
Plague Soundscapes, took its half-minute killzaps and added a gurgling,
hissing swamp of electronics. And their new one, Ipecac’s Safety
Second, Body Last (produced by Alex Newport) goes even further.
It is a single 10 minute, 11 second track divided into four movements,
like classical music (though classical as composed by serial
murder-junkie Ed Gein in cahoots with The Residents.) It begins in a
hellbroth of twitchy nerves par for the course of the band’s older
stuff. But suddenly it stops and you’re dropped into a tossing,
churning primordial sea of ominous splerrks, oscillating blits, and
liquidic rrerks sputtered out of Joey Karam’s keyboard—before the
vocals and Gabe Serbian’s drums come on again… only this time slow.
Pained. Agonized. Like a woolly mammoth caught knee-deep in a tar pit.
From there, the track moves through a miniseries of stages: slow and
sludgy to the fastest, herkiest jerkiest splatters you’ve ever heard;
JP’s bass making spacebrain noises; keyboards sputtering like blood
spurting and sloshing out of bullet-holes; guitars revving like
chainsaws or e-bowing themselves into the gorgeous, ear-massaging sound
of a mosquito’s lost cell-phone ringing at the bottom of lake
The lyrics flay through a surrealistic landscape touching down on man’s
need to compartmentalize his culture, gun-happy Americans, with a whole
host of characters showing up—fools, barbarians, troglodytes, sonic
cannibals. “Which one are you?” the record asks. “Whose side you on?”
But what does the music itself say? “The electromagnetic force has
something to say, not 100% sure what it is yet,” says Bobby. “But until
then, we (as a band) are going to allow for as many oscillators,
potentiometers, jagged tempo and note changes as it takes to allow its
message to be heard.

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