Not to be confused with fellow genre jumpers SEX BBQ, Atlanta foursome SEX FARM bring an equal disregard for style and convention to the mix, although their approach is louder and more aggressive. Their latest EP, Pissed Off, is a jumbled amalgam of punk, metal, and alt-rock full of off-kilter riffs and rhythms that spiral and careen off each other in unexpected ways. When it comes to unleashing gnarled avant noise, these guys are absolutely cutthroat.
If some of this record sounds familiar, it’s because we’ve heard these players combine forces before, or at least three of them anyway. Vocalist Hsiang-Ming Wen, guitarist Gokul Parasuram, and drummer Noah Kess first became known to local audiences through their art-rock project Pillage & Plunder, which took bits and pieces of punk, jazz, soul, swing, math rock, prog, and funk, and strung them together into delightfully convoluted puzzles of sound. In the time since the group disbanded, Wen has gone on to find some success playing bass with party rockers Baby Baby, while Parasuram (with occasional help from Kess) has continued to blur genre lines under his solo moniker Freddy Chops. But nothing any of them have done since has managed to strike the same magical balance between accessibility and unpredictability as Pillage & Plunder. That is, until now.
Using their previous band as a reference point, you could say that SEX FARM is like P&P at their most angry and assertive. The lead cut and title track opens with a high voltage riff and bass groove (courtesy of the group’s only non P&P alum, Cody Sciara) that ebbs and flows ominously before spilling out into a bridge section writhing with hardcore intensity. The follow up, “Morem Pissed Off,” is the best of the EP’s three tracks, with the trio sounding for all the world like a jazzier These Arms Are Snakes with all the hedonistic fury and malice that implies. Meanwhile, closer “Mushy” is far more measured and direct, but the group still finds plenty of room to wander off into the wilderness with a mid-song freakout that would fly off the rails if it weren’t for some nifty guitar work and Kess’ agile drumming. The track may not howl like the rest of the record, but it still packs a considerable bite.
If you’re looking for faults, perhaps it’s the EP is often a tad self-indulgent. But while it might be tempting to write this off as some kind of goofy experiment, the ridiculousness is part of the experience. There’s little denying the group’s technical prowess, and when they decide to cut to the chase and get mean, the result is fierce and frenetic. This definitely isn’t Pillage & Plunder, but for fans who miss that band’s relentless adventuring, it’s certainly the next best thing.