100 Gecs: 10,000 Gecs

On their sophomore full-length, the hyperpop duo of Dylan Brady and Laura Les, better known to the world as 100 Gecs, attempt to replace the more experimental moments on their excellent first LP with songs loaded with catchy pop hooks and infectiously silly fun. The new record, not so cleverly titled 10,000 Gecs, literally doubles down on the ska stylings the pair executed superbly on their debut with the song “Stupid Horse” by, this time around, delivering not one but two ska numbers, “Frog on the Floor” and “I Got My Tooth Removed”. To some that may sound like too much ska for an album released in 2023 with only ten songs that have a combined total running time of under twenty-seven minutes. For those who have already been privy to what 100 Gecs can do with the proto-reggae genre, it’s a reason to rejoice.

10,000 Gecs begins cinematically with Les and Brady’s version of the unmistakable Deep Note that opens every studio film that features THX-certified sound. Why no one had thought of doing this before on an album is anyone’s guess. Regardless, it makes for a brilliant start, one that crashes headfirst into what may be 100 Gecs’ best song both lyrically and musically, “The Dumbest Girl Alive”. “And I’m picking up the pace, I’m so happy I could die, put emojis on my grave, I’m the dumbest girl alive,” Les sings in a style best described as desperate and hopeless. The oddly emotive, upbeat track’s instrumental parts include: a repeating hard rock guitar riff, intermittent 8-bit bleeps and bloops, and a pulsing synthetic bass. 100 Gecs have mastered the art of stitching together choice elements from the pop music landscape of the last forty years to create something that feels exotic yet familiar.

The quirky, effects-laden “757” serves as a nice palate cleanser before the best single of the first half of this year, “Hollywood Baby”, reveals itself. Kicking things off with an insanely simple and catchy hook, the track hits like the best pop-punk song the late-nineties had to offer shot through with hyperpop slickness. Somewhere Blink-182 are crying all over their awful tattoos and dumb lip piercings. The moody “Billy Knows Jamie” is 10,000 Gecs’ weakest track. Here, the duo tries their hand at early 2000s rap rock complete with record scratching and Brady replicating an overwrought Fred Durst-like vocal delivery. 10,000 Gecs bounces back, however, with “The Most Wanted Person in the United States”. Interpolating a bassline from Dr. Calculus’ 1988 single “Full of Love”, the song has Dylan and Laura trading verses that include hilarious lines like, “Anthony Kiedis sucking on my penis.”

10,000 Gecs is brought to an appropriately self-referential and cleverly enigmatic, snotnosed end with “MeMeMe”. Utilizing a chiptune vocal loop as a starting point, the ender builds, cycling through the various styles 100 Gecs touched on in the nine tracks previous. Here, Brady and Les wave goodbye while trading verses around a robotically-voiced chorus that repeats the lines, “You’ll never really know … , anything about me …” It’s a beautifully cryptic finale that taunts while rubbing our faces in the unknowable mystery of these two magnificent weirdos who have somehow managed to hold a mirror up to the awfulness of the terrestrial radio years and reflect a brilliantly realized image of what we are that is at once absurd and glorious.

Rating: 8.5/10

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