Thursday 15 June 2023

Review of '10,000 Gecs' by 100 Gecs

Goodbye hyperpop. Hello hyperrock.

It’s been four long years since experimental duo 100 Gecs invented hyperpop. Okay, technically SOPHIE (RIP) and a handful of other artists from the PC Music collective helped design the blueprint (you can read more about who I believe invented hyperpop here). But it was Laura Les and Dylan Brady’s own formula of autotuned vocals, overblown bass, shrill synths and cartoonish sound effects that seems to have influenced the hundreds of gen-z bedroom artists now adopting the hyperpop label on Spotify.

Despite new artists continuing to jump on the bandwagon, the hype for hyperpop has been waning recently because no-one has really been driving the genre forward into new territory. Thankfully, 100 Gecs are now back to take the wheel, bringing with them 9000 more gecs that last time (my God, how many gecs do they need???), and they seem to have steered hyperpop in a new direction. I’m calling this new direction ‘hyperrock’.

This time around, there are less trance synths and dubstep squeals, and much more guitars. Nu metal and ska punk seem to be the biggest influences – ‘Dumbest girl alive’ features a badass riff that sounds very similar to Papa Roach’s ‘Last Resort’, while ‘Frog on the floor’ has Reel Big Fish vibes. It’s the same turn-of-the-millennium nostalgia that 100 Gecs were channelling through tracks like ‘Ringtone’, but now with a rock flavour.

Is it an improvement from their last album? For me, yes. While I enjoyed the Mr Bungle-esque genre-hopping and playful production of their debut, the mix of autotune and harsh vocals over cheap synths triggered Vietnam flashbacks of Brokencyde. 10,000 Gecs is personally much more palatable because a) I’ve always been more of a rock fan than a pop fan, and b) there’s less autotune across this album (although some tracks are still drenched in it) and I’m not the biggest autotune fan. Overall, they no longer remind me of Brokencyde, which I am grateful for.

Meanwhile, they’ve kept all of the elements of their music from their debut that I enjoyed. The songs are still fast-paced and loaded with kooky sound effects like the THX deep note at the beginning of ‘Dumbest Girl Alive’, the Guitar-Hero-esque wrong-note-clangs on ‘Doritos and Cheetos’ and the Cypress Hill squeal repeated throughout ‘The Most Wanted Person In The United States’. Their lyrics are also still very entertaining, even if they are completely random at times. ‘Frog on the floor’, which is literally all about a frog on the floor, is perhaps a little too silly. But otherwise I love the goofy references like ‘I’m eating a burrito with Danny DeVito’ and the fact that they dedicate a whole break up song to an extracted tooth. Despite the nu metal influences, it feels like they’ve rejected the serious macho side of this genre, instead embracing a more childlike playfulness with their lyrics.

Like Jockstrap’s I Love You Jennifer B, which was my favourite album of last year, 10,000 Gecs is what happens when two talented musicians experiment without taking themselves too seriously. Their songwriting ability shines through in the catchiness of their hooks and the intricacy of their production. Some of the autotune does still make me wince and the ‘frog on the floor’ song is too dumb for me. But otherwise it’s an exciting album and a refreshing new take on hyperpop.