Review: 10,000 gecs

19/04/2023

Ben Jordan (he/him) delves into the long-awaited album by 100 gecs.

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Image by Wikimedia Commons

By Ben Jordan

100 gecs are back. The duo of Laura Les and Dylan Brady have been dividing critics since the release of their self-titled debut EP 100 gecs in 2017. With the release of their eclectic sophomore album 10,000 gecs, Les and Brady have carved out a spot for themselves in the hyperpop niche and further entrenched their reputation as two of the most inventive musical artists working today.

Since their inception in 2015 100 gecs have refused to be pinned down by one label. 10,000 gecs consists of a sparse series of 10 tracks spread across 27 minutes, but what the duo do in that limited timeframe is sure to leave the listener scratching their head and adjusting their headphones. 10,000 gecs introduces the listener to its opening track, ‘Dumbest Girl Alive’, with the sound of the iconic THX Deep Note, an instantly recognisable sound trademark that evokes nostalgia for the 80s and 90s. This is followed by a series of gunshots and a gnarly guitar riff that for all intents and purposes signals to the listener that 10,000 gecs is going to deviate from the eclectic electronica of its predecessor, 1000 gecs, and move in a more rock-inspired direction; as evinced by the single ‘Doritos & Fritos’ (also featured on the album). However, our expectations are subverted after the opening lines of the track, as the guitar drops out and is replaced by the reverberations of an electronic dance beat, which bursts onto the track.

‘Dumbest Girl Alive’ gives the listener a taste of what is to come over the course of 10,000 gecs, but it is by no means characteristic of the sound of the album as a whole. Nearly every track on 10,000 gecs blends together and deconstructs genre conventions to the point where it is difficult to describe the overall sound of the album. But this disparate soundscape somehow coalesces into a cohesive whole that is sure to distinguish 10,000 gecs as one of the most distinctive and conceptually interesting albums of 2023.

My personal favourite tracks had to be ‘757’ and ‘mememe’ (which was released as a single way back in 2021), but I would be lying if I said that I was not listening with my jaw on the floor throughout 10,000 gecs. Even in its more comedic moments, such as ‘Frog On The Floor’ and ‘I Got My Tooth Removed’ (more on that later), 10,000 gecs still succeeds in engaging its listener. Not a single minute of this album feels wasted, and though I would argue that some tracks are weaker than others, they are still nonetheless idiosyncratic. ‘Hollywood Baby’ appears to have been singled out as one of the standout tracks from 10,000 gecs since its release, but personally, I do not care for it as much as some of the other tracks on the album. Later tracks such as ‘One Million Dollars’ move in a more experimental direction that is simply more interesting than the sound of ‘Hollywood Baby’ and ‘Billy Knows Jamie’ (the only track that I actively hated), both of which sound like aborted Beastie Boys outtakes. Sure, you are unlikely to hear ‘One Million Dollars’ being played at parties anytime soon (if you do, please invite me, that sounds like a great party), but give me its disparate blend of Death Grips and Benny Benassi over the Beastie Boys any day.

The diverse soundscape of ‘The Most Wanted Person In The United States’ distinguishes it as one of the easiest songs to groove to on the album. Featuring snippets from Scary Movie and a recurring motif from Cypress Hill’s classic track ‘Insane in the Brain’, this track is evocative of the recent work of The Garden, to the point where it would not sound out of place on their most recent album HORSESHIT ON ROUTE 66 (which I would recommend to fans of 100 gecs). One thing that sets 100 gecs apart from the pack is their humour, and this is perhaps most apparent on ‘I Got My Tooth Removed’. The first time I listened to this track I was not a fan, but once I listened to it again in more depth it grew on me. ‘I Got My Tooth Removed’ is a pastiche of break-up ballads, with the same yearning lyrics and sentimentality: only this time, it charts the toxic relationship between a person and their tooth. Like in ‘Frog On The Floor’ and ‘Stupid Horse’ (a classic from 1000 gecs), the influence of ska is clear here, even to the point where ‘I Got My Tooth Removed’ increases its tempo using the same technique as ‘Stupid Horse’, with Brady ushering in the final chorus by urging the track to “Pick it up!”.

10,000 gecs is a truly idiosyncratic album that is a Herculean feat to even describe, let alone decipher. I for one am excited to see what direction the duo go in next, as though 10,000 gecs is by no means a perfect album, it feels like a suitable follow-up to 1000 gecs, which is arguably even more diverse than its predecessor. 10,000 gecs is not for everyone, and I would even go as far to say that it is not for most listeners, but for those who are on its wavelength few albums in recent years can rival its inventiveness and ingenuity. Even if you do not like it, I urge you, at the very least, to listen to it.