THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Stice vocalist Caroline Bennett aka Crab (formerly of Kiddy Pool, which would later become Machine Girl), and producer Jake Lichter aka Jark (of Maine experimental rock trio Lunch Cult) like to imagine they met as teens on the website Chatroulette, and immediately bonded over their mutual interest in the far corners of the Internet. Since their formation, Stice have been making warped industrial dance for the internet age, capturing the chaos of the digital cosmos with a bombastic and frantic absurdism. Their newest effort, Stice’s Satyricon, named after the Greek gladiator picaresque by Petronius, is among the darkest, most putrid, most nutso grab-bag of tunes that the duo have thus far cooked up.
Around 2018, the two began to email lyric snippets and sound files back and forth. Jark, using cracked copies of Cubase and FruityLoops, dutifully assembled them into rudimentary beats on his Lenovo ThinkPad. Early tracks like Vore Night and My Life as a Dog in Heat proved minor SoundCloud sensations on its Industrial chart, and the duo started to gain traction online for their aggressively crackbrained vocal stylings and frenetic fever-dream production. Compiled on their first outing The Very Best of Stice (2019), selections from this era mined such far-flung territory as the soundtrack to the PS2 tie-in video game Shark Tale (2004) and snippets of bar mitzvah hip-hop, spinning unlikely samples into booming in-your-face hype anthems. Their videos, always directed by and starring Crab, meanwhile, gained cult followings for their shoestring resourcefulness and hyperactive editing, akin to a bad trip while surfing an iPad.
Now, Stice’s Satyricon might be the pair’s most unabashedly foul affair yet. Tracks like I Piss Myself channel the raw vigor of ‘00s MySpace forumcore and the attendant .jpeg-compressed filth of the unmoderated web. Screaming Like Shittt’ sounds as if Atari Teenage Riot had helmed the The Rugrats Movie (1999) soundtrack, while Ollygoshawda‘ packs all the desperation and angst of a mutant high school talent show gone off the rails. Perhaps drawing on Crab’s musical lineage, Satyricon sounds almost like a Machine Girl album drawn to its most delirious and scatological extremes (Crab jokes that Stice is a Machine Girl “spite band”). These songs run a mile a minute, cycling through a torrent of emotions and genres, ranging from the shambolic breakcore of Nero’s Day at Disneyland to the gonzo zolo of Cardiacs to the ADHD mashups of 100gecs. In the world of Stice, bodily functions and urges get all mixed up, turned in on one another, repressed one moment and uncontrollably erupting the next (Per the title track: “Every time I pee, I cum religiously”); it’s Bataille’s outrageous eroticism for the post-Vine age.”