10,000 Gecs, the newly-released sophomore record from experimental pop duo 100 Gecs, commences with an absurdity that fans have come to expect. Blasting the iconic THX sound system intro (the synth that terrified an entire generation of DVD-watchers), then transitioning into three deafening gunshots, the LP’s introduction will catch new listeners off guard. However, most would describe such a jolt as the perfect first encounter with the band’s emblematic musical ethos.
The band’s eccentric fanbase has been impatiently waiting for a new record since 2019, when the duo released their Reddit-sweeping, unabashedly Internet-influenced debut album 1,000 Gecs. Exposing audiences worldwide to an off-putting amalgamation of dubstep, punk, ska, nightcore and just about every genre in between, Laura Les and Dylan Brady garnered just as much controversy as they did praise. Nevertheless, as the internet attempted to decipher the true intentions behind lyrics such as, “Hey you little piss baby/ You think you’re so f— cool? Huh?” Brady and Les carved out a niche within the 21st century’s musical ecosystem, which has only flourished since.
Four years later, and now signed with Atlantic Records, 100 Gecs is finally back with its long-awaited project. Following the aforementioned gunshots, the opening track “Dumbest Girl Alive” kicks off with blown-out 808s, distorted guitar and Les’ auto tuned vocals. Ditching her pitch shift utilized throughout the previous record, Les feels much rawer on 10,000 Gecs, presented in a new yet familiar light. Singing “Put emojis on my grave/ I’m the dumbest girl alive,” the band holds tightly onto their idiosyncrasies, all while producing a slightly less abrasive sound than their previous work.
The duo’s style has obviously matured over the past year. Having embarked on an international tour in 2022 and with numerous online shows over the pandemic, 100 Gecs has had time to polish their ideas –– and it shows. Where 1,000 Gecs shined (or failed, depending on who’s asked) in its disjointed nature, 10,000 Gecs commits to a much more solid punk rock throughline in its tracklist.
“Billy Knows Jamie,” for instance, features unmodulated vocals, an in-your-face bass guitar and a death metal breakdown bound to impress –– or, at least, shock –– listeners. Taking record-scratching inspiration from ‘90s hip hop, the band has by no means abandoned its genre-bending mentality, yet the punk notes found in each track glue the record together in near-perfect harmony. Screaming, “Billy knows Jamie, Jamie looks pissed/ Jamie smokes rocks until he gets sick,” Les and Brady reassure fans that not even a major label record deal won’t tone down their shocking lyricism.
“The Most Wanted Person In The United States” is another of the LP’s clear highlights. A perfect backing track to speeding down the highway, Les and Brady sing of being on the run from murder charges, on top of a silly beat filled with bouncy sound effects reminiscent of a Bop It. Juxtaposing cartoon-like boings with unbelievably dark lyricism — “I got the gun in the backseat/ Ready to go, don’t need to ask me” — the song exemplifies 100 Gecs’ one-of-a-kind songwriting process.
Plenty of surprises are sprinkled throughout the 27-minute play, making it impossible for listeners to lose interest at any given moment. On “One Million Dollars,” an array of modulated, robotic voices repeat the hypnotic title phrase as the song descends into distorted madness. “Frog On The Floor” is a surf-rock, ska track brimming with ribbits and terrible frog puns galore (“I heard that he was telling croaks at the party”). “757” harkens back to vintage Gecs tracks with its electronic-centered production, while “I Got My Tooth Removed” lets listeners in on a gory anecdote about an out-of-hand cavity.
100 Gecs is certainly not for everyone, yet the duo’s polarizing nature is precisely what makes them so captivating to begin. On their sophomore album, Les and Brady have proved their staying power within the pop scene and have even hinted at the possibility of a mainstream breakthrough. While 10,000 Gecs is still bound to isolate and confuse, it does so through a more cohesive, inviting lens. The short record is certainly worth a listen from superfans and haters alike.