Pigs are evolving. Not the farmyard animals; they’re stuck in the mud. But the U.K. noise unit Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs (known from here on out as Pigs x7), who, on their third album, have become a different beast.
Fans of the five-piece’s early fusions of fun and fury, never fear; they still kick and snarl and snort like they did in the very beginning, but Viscerals is 40 minutes of rock ‘n’ roll done right, a tsunami of noise that’s somehow laser targeted too, menace in technicolor. It’s just… more.
You can hear it all in opening track “Reducer,” a rolling boulder of piss, vinegar, and adrenaline. While relatively short and sweet by the band’s previous standards, it might still count as the heaviest punch they’ve ever landed.
Streamlined isn’t the right word. There’s nothing lithe or aerodynamic about Viscerals: “Rubbernecker” is lively but unpredictable, and no one could accuse the seven-minute “New Body” of being light on its feet—but there’s no doubting that the band have dumped a large spoonful of sugar into their mix. Peer through the thick haze around this thing, and you might just make out a bunch of warped, mutant pop songs.
The band haven’t abandoned any part of their Frankenstein sound to do it, either. The off-kilter psychedelia, noise rock riffs, air of doom, guttural bellows, and Black Sabbath worship are all present and correct. It’s just that everything feels slightly better connected. Now their teeth are longer; their bite clamps harder; the blood streams faster. Evolution in action!
Pigs x7 have held up their part of the bargain then. The next part is up to you. For as good as this record is, it’s missing a key ingredient. It’s been custom-built to be played live. Everything they’ve recorded before has been really, but while the tracks here will work wonders in front a few hundred people in a sweaty basement, for the first time Pigs x7 sound like they should be performing to thousands on a mountaintop, riffing to the masses. Make it happen.