From the goofy name onward, experimental Minneapolis noiseniks Marijuana Deathsquads have always had the air of an in-joke. The suspicion was that the band’s founder and leader, Ryan Olson, invested more importance in his other musical projects, art-poppers Poliça and soft-rock ironists Gayngs. This may be set to change. Oh My Sexy Lord, the anarchic collective’s second album (third if you include 2012 mixtape Tamper Disable Destroy) melds serrated grooves, twitchy glitch-beats and surrealist/scatological raps to pulverizing effect.
Where previous MD offerings were scattergun and self-indulgent, now they have developed heft and purpose. The Star Wars-referencing title of opening track “Ewok Sadness” may lead you to expect a tiresomely whimsical stoners’ symphony, but its aggregation of deep-house beats, thunderous tribal rhythms and riled helium vocals is joyously, beguilingly skew-whiff. Better yet is “Sunglasses and Bail Money,” a jittery outpouring of hipster paranoia that manages to be both sneering and spectral, or “Dissolve,” where a furious analog dance pulse decomposes into its trace elements. Justin Vernon pops up with a heavily treated, scarcely recognizable vocal on Stacks: Far from a star cameo, the Bon Iver man is merely one more ingredient in Marijuana Deathsquad’s exuberant, cleverly calibrated chaos.