Black Dice

To be later identified as the elusive missing link connecting the primordial water themes of its first full-length, the maddeningly soothing Beaches and Canyons, with some as-yet-unrealized career-defining mutation, Black Dice's Creature Comforts instinctively wanders off onto a small patch of adventure island dominated by the mating calls of overly horny digital chimps and space boars.

But Black Dice gets lost at some point, even under the supervision of studio engineers Steve Revitte (Beastie Boys, Liars) and the DFA's Tim Goldsworthy and James Murphy. In the past, given Black Dice's knack for tirelessly raw and pummeling experimentation, this would usually make for an enjoyably fucked-up affair. But the band's ensuing resolve for sensation over shock, along with newly sprouted sunlit melodies similar to those of recent tour mates Animal Collective and Ninja Tune cuties Pest, neuters the journey, until the eight tracks add up to a surprisingly predictable day at the beach. -- Hunter Stephenson

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