In anticipation of “10000 gecs” and beyond, a look back at 100 gec’s experimental, eclectic and dizzying debut album
Sirens, trap beats, barks, guitar riffs, ringtones, orchestral instrumentals and screaming bass — these are just a few of the sounds that 100 gecs, a duo formed by Dylan Brady, 28, and Laura Les, 27, stitch together into the eclectic musical quilt of their 2019 debut album “1000 gecs.” In just 10 songs and 23 minutes, “1000 gecs” boasts an experimental mix of genres including hyperpop, ska, post-dubstep, death metal and jazz, all of which Les and Brady blend together to produce not the musical equivalent of a Smoothie Challenge concoction but rather a catchy album that manages to keep every song chaotically fresh. In anticipation of the release of 100 gecs’ 2022 album “10000 gecs,” let’s take a look back at the frenetic collisions of unlikely sounds in “1000 gecs.”
Opening with “745 sticky,” a song about the cycle of working, spending money and feeling as if you’re “not good enough,” 100 gecs wastes no time. Five seconds of pure, mild synth flit by before, with a sharp, auto-tuned exhale, Les plunges the song into just over two minutes of unhinged screams, clear water drops, a distantly chanting crow, and hi-hat cymbals. A little past the halfway mark, an abrupt dubstep drop melts into what Les and Brady aptly call “ending fuckery” — a mosh pit of shrieks, vibrating bass, wailing sirens and a dog bark. The duo snaps together unpredictable passages that together create an attention-grabbing track with internet-speed transitions between punchy drum kicks and waves of muffled vocals.
100 gecs carries this dynamic, maximalist energy throughout the album to prevent songs from ever feeling stale. “xXXi_wud_nvrstøp_ÜXXx,” an interpolation of Soulja Boy’s “Kiss Me Thru the Phone,” has a nightcore feel to it, with bubblegum vocals pitching up Les’ voice as she professes that she’s “crazy for you, baby.” Her sweet, melodic whispers, layered over windy white noise sweeps and twinkling synth drops, slip into a distorted, exhilarating bass kick that adds a jarring vitality to the track.
100 gecs falls short of turning eccentric chaos into musical delight in “I Need Help Immediately” and “gecgecgec.” The first features an eerily disjointed, slightly janky collage of sounds from what could be both a high-stakes game show and a horror video game. There are clips of bending sax, choir echoes, sirens and a snippy bass. The other weak point, “gecgecgec,” combines muted trumpet calls and electric piano notes with a robotic droning of “gecgecgec…” that gets old before the copypasta lyrics end. These two tracks lack a steady background beat (like the drums in “745 sticky”) that adds cohesiveness and elevates the rest of “1000 gecs” from a gimmicky, jumbled mishmash to a magnetizing collection of ear candy.
“money machine” and “ringtone” do more than enough to make up for the album’s duds. “money machine,” 100 gec’s most popular song to date, begins with a twanging Dobro slide before Les deals out the most memorable lines of the album. “Hey you lil’ piss baby, you think you’re so fucking cool?” she snarks before delivering a scathing roast: “you talk a lotta big game for someone with such a small truck.” Her taunts feel reminiscent of something a middle-school boy might type in a public Minecraft server’s chat, and Les adds a cocky edge to them that infuses the lyrics with an infectious humor. Nestled near the middle of the album, “ringtone” serves as a brief respite from eardrum-bursting mayhem. Most of the song is stripped bare to highlight Les’ chipper auto-tuned vocals. Even when Brady’s distorted voice plays out over shaking bass, the track retains a relaxed accessibility and charming atmosphere that makes it stand out as a much-appreciated interlude.
“1000 gecs” delivers a fun and funky musical fusion of disordered melodies and seemingly disparate genres to its listeners. Although the album’s bizarre soundscape can feel slightly abrasive and jarring at times, Les and Brady skillfully infuse the album with absurd, anarchistic energy that makes each track pulse with disorienting volume.
Now, as they perform at Coachella, Les and Brady prepare to drop “10000 gecs” in the near future, which they promise will be — true to its name — “10 times as good as the last one.” Their newly released single, “Doritos & Fritos,” joins “mememe” as the second sneak peek into the kinds of sounds that “10000 gecs” holds for fans.
Both “mememe” and “Doritos & Fritos” depart from the eclectic chaos that defines 100 gecs’ debut album, yet they retain Les and Brady’s internet-core, genre-bending approach to music. The two singles are more of what might be expected of mainstream pop, with less purposeful-albeit-unconventional mash of dizzying, unexpected sounds and more consistent, milder instrumentals to tie everything together. “mememe” features playful electronic synth, vibrating bass and crashing drums, and as the song progresses, Les’s natural voice begins to play out prominently in the second verse and the bridge. This new twist is present, too, in “Doritos & Fritos,” where Les’s voice hints — at least in comparison to previous songs — of autotune, yet comes through clearly as manipulated guitar riffs and glitched bass set a comfortably steady instrumental accompaniment and Brady dishes out signature meme-like lyrics as he sings of “eating burritos with Danny Devito.”
Perhaps “Doritos & Fritos” and “mememe” are more predictable than the kind of music that 100 gecs has produced in the past. They’re more accessible, as if the chaos in the first album is being distilled, refined. For those who came to 100 gecs seeking the thrilling, mind melting combination of sounds that shines through in their debut album, this might not be your cup of tea. Yet undoubtedly, with “10000 gecs,” Brady and Les open a new chapter in their career, one that promises an evolution of musical style that’s worth following.