Cryptooology (Skin Graft Records)

Listening to Yowie's debut release is like watching the capuchin monkeys of Saskatchewan beating a piñata with lengths of the province's indigenous bamboo. Imagine the glee with which they anticipate delicious banana taffy melting in their mouths. Imagine their screams of terror when the papier-mâché bursts and releases millions of giant, hissing cockroaches that devour them all. Who's the taffy now, monkeys?

The incongruities are plentiful on Cryptooology. In its mere 30 minutes of instrumental mayhem, Yowie devours the mind like a swarm of insects. Dissonant guitar tunings and boggling rhythms come together in elaborate arrangements to create an unlikely jazz-funk-mathcore that's as jarring as it is catchy. Yes, catchy.

That's not to say this record is for everyone; it may be the ugliest, most grating music you've ever heard. Your Jessica Simpson-loving friends will beg you to turn it off, but you'll be doing them a favor by turning it up. Yowie has given birth to a new musical idiom, and babies are seldom pretty in their first moments out of the womb. Does that mean you don't love 'em?

Guitarist Jeremiah Wonsewitz demonstrates a remarkably strong ear in the mixing and mastering skills he put to work for the record. Managing to pull a clean mix from such a tangle of odd harmonics was probably no easy feat, but every frequency is perfectly shelved and balanced, every ding and twiddle crystal-clear.

Your opportunity to thank Yowie for its contributions to musical science comes this Saturday at the band's joint CD-release party with the Conformists at Radio Cherokee (3227 Cherokee Avenue). Yowie's Skin Graft labelmates, Cheer Accident, are slated to join the festivities.

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