Comeback albums are in vogue this year, especially for rock music and its offshoots. At the Drive-In, Gorillaz and nearly every major shoegaze pioneer (The Jesus and Mary Chain, Ride, Slowdive, etc.) have all resurfaced for returns-to-form or late-career flops, depending on whom you ask. The fact many of these bands had been laid to rest for decades certainly contributed to disappointment among some fans, as did the heightened expectations created by their pre-breakup classics. Part Chimp bucks the drawbacks of all these metrics with their hiatus-smashing record Iv, which provides and incredible delivery of the band’s signature blend of sludge-ridden noise rock and stoner metal. The band’s comfortable position in the underground and relatively short hiatus—they disbanded in 2011 and reunited last year—has allowed Iv to feel less like a comeback album and more like a reunion with a beloved friend, where good memories come flooding back and it feels as though everything is still in its right place.
Part Chimp have perfected a formula that emulates classic, pupal sounds from sludge and stoner metal’s births in the 90s and 00s. Iv presents the hypothetical soundtrack of Electric Wizard and (the) Melvins ripping bong hits in a shared rehearsal space with old noise rock and post-hardcore tour posters plastered on every wall. The band hasn’t lost a beat when it comes to underground rock’s veneration of its elders, falling comfortably in line alongside contemporaries like Big Ups and Pile while also retaining their own signature sound. They leverage their carefully splicing of influences to foster variety between virtually every track—”Namekuji” opens the album with what sounds like a sped-up b-side from Dopethrone before “Mapoleon” immediately flips the script with a more fuzzy, visceral take on Big Black‘s bouncy noise rock sneer. The band never stops delivering one-two punches courtesy of riffs crafted with equal parts heaviness and catchiness.
Just when it seems like the album is coming to a relatively soft close with the traditional-ish doom metal on “Rad Mallard,” the band serves up an explosive helping of noisy desert rock on album closer “A Lil’ Bit O’ Justice,” an eight-minute heat wave sure to melt any doubts listeners might still have about the band. It’s the perfect finale for an incredible album and a textbook example of how to write a powerful comeback album. Part Chimp may not have been gone as long as the aforementioned bands who’ve thrown their hat back in the ring, but with Iv, they’ve likely made old and new fans alike grateful to have them back in action. This album is top shelf auditory kush worth blasting at an obscene volume.
Iv is available now via Rock Action Records.