Entertainment

Auto Chlor Releases “Kid Gloves and Crystal Math” Albums

If you had told me that the next time I’d hear an ABBA cover, it would be through the lens of a distorted, sound-rock, electro-dark ambient sound collective from Athens, Georgia, well, I probably would have believed you. Crazier things have happened, with one such example being that the cover was actually outstanding! Auto Chlor, a group I’m not too familiar with, has come back with not one but two full-length LPs. Kid Gloves and Crystal Math — it’s on the latter that you’ll hear the dissonant, moody take on Sweden’s sweethearts, and if you’re anything like me it’ll pique your interest enough to give the rest of the records a look!

Kid Gloves, the first of the duo, is a fantastic introduction to the Georgia-based art-rock group. According to the group’s ringleader, xx periscope, Kid Gloves is a portrait of xx periscope’s work life. They say similarly that Crystal Math is a portrait of xx periscope’s decaying home life, and the dynamic between the two records is noticeable. Kid Gloves features such enigmatic song titles as “yaw joggle,” “chivvy,” and “beefy truce,” and xx periscope has said they got the titles based on a random word generator — the songs would only then be written after the title was acquired.

BANDCAMP: https://autochlor.bandcamp.com/album/kid-gloves

This type of free-flowing artistic ingenuity is carried across the entire record, as compositions such as “downiest tine” feel like rediscovered old favorites, home movies projected up on the wall of the basement; there’s something so earnest about every track, and even the more abrasive and electronic-centric tracks work because they’re anchored in the same earnest nature. “melancholy trucking” is off-putting, especially following up “downiest tine,” but the duality is the album. There are glimpses of both sides of humanity to be had, and where you choose to focus is what makes your final decision. “boohoo acquiring” gives the record another go at some beautiful electronic strings, and the growth to the finale feels straight out of a science-fiction picture.

Crystal Math, tackling the subject of decaying home life, feels like a perfect encapsulation of the subject. Album opener “narcotic gawk” is a straightforward, simple orchestral piece playing over distorted vocals and a pulsing heartbeat. Its optimism is quickly removed by the cold, echoing void of the next track, “luxuriant coo.” This is a far colder entry, similarly experimenting with vocal sampling, as cold synths combat a pulsing echo — it sets the album up as a new thing away from Kid Gloves, and the following tracks, all ranging from one minute to two until the aforementioned “Fernando” cover work more as sound collages and brief interludes into an inner psyche than they do as typical songs. It’s an impressive collection of textures and sounds, with “help suggestion” even working as Auto Chlor’s stab at a typical indie rock track — there are still flourishes of distortion, but the song comes across as the most traditional on the album. Putting Kid Gloves and Crystal Math together, listeners will have an excellent double LP from Auto Chlor to wax poetic on. There’s plenty to love from both records, an ABBA cover included!

 

Loren Sperry

 

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