The first thing you hear on Be Holding No Bodies, the debut album by Big Scary Indian, is a fleet of galloping horses that grows into a deafening roar. Someone lets out a scream, and it could be a warcry or a death knell; the rider or their quarry. The sample could represent the record as a whole, its songs so dense and disorienting that it feels like a constant assault on the senses.

Be Holding No Bodies is formidably carnivalesque, taking wild turns with tempo and time signature that makes it feel less math-y and more hallucinogenic. One listen is not enough to capture every detail. Maybe not even ten would suffice. That first song, “plum gut,” pairs a demented guitar riff with smeared, warped vocals and a drum beat that occasionally feels fed through a wormhole. In retrospect, it’s a template for the wilder moments, the joyous “knuckle up” and “roughly speaking” among them. These songs carry an almost absurd capacity for ideas, and seemingly no moment goes by when a sample or a processed vocal isn’t hurled around the cyclone.

Quiescence does exist here, if only in brief. When it’s not giving the listening brain a break, it usually applies an element of cinematic heft to the record. “strange lore” feels like a holdover from the AOR era, its quivering violin strings and cascading guitar plucks adding a touch of drama. “a serpent in the wind” is the obvious climax, a six-minute epic that dips and rises like a classical movement. “tilt” provides the necessary resolution, a deep breath that fades enigmatically.

A cross between the psychic inscrutability of Spirit of the Beehive and the irrepressible energy of Otoboke Beaver, Be Holding No Bodies dangles a mobile of questions overhead and refuses to provide even a hint of an answer to any of them. Some records exist to inform listeners of how the artist might sound in a live setting, while others form impenetrable sonic worlds of their own. The songs on Be Holding No Bodies could feasibly be performed live, but it also actively feels like a wormhole, bending time and space at will. It speaks in whispers and passes like a vivid dream, and when it fades there’s no option left but to play it again.

Be Holding No Bodies is out today (July 1st, 2022) via Y3S Recordings. Follow Big Scary Indian on Twitter and Insta, and be sure to support the album on bandcamp or stream it over on Spotify.

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