Review: Breeze – Toad Crossing (self-released, Nov 26)

Oakland DIY duo Breeze truly put the “no” in “no wave.”  Their irreverent brand of anything-goes improvisation isn’t entirely indebted to the archetypal no wave sound, but more often than not Jackson Blumgart and Max Nordile find themselves falling into the lumbering, not-quite-in-time grooves, nonsense vocalizations, and razor-sharp guitar skronk that we all know and love. I first encountered the band through their short digital-only release The Guilty Baby, which luckily was not that long ago so I didn’t have too much time for new music. Of the two releases with which Breeze graced us on November 26th, Toad Crossing is definitely noisier and harsher, frequently delving into straight-up terrifying territory as the two friends summon unholy frenzies of punishing synth noise, piercing saxophone wails, ear-splitting feedback, and completely unintelligible ranting and raving. This 26-minute release is greatly helped by its high volume and substantial dynamic range, which both imbue the music with a sense of dangerous instantaneity. Hulking cacophonies of rusted metal and studio detritus threaten to collapse at any moment, and any brief respite from the madness is unceremoniously pulled away on the most fleeting of whims.