One of the best rock guys go electronic albums of recent times.
One of the best "rock guys go electronic" albums of recent times. Dirty Knobby Industries

Beauty Hunters, "Gentlemen of the Other Firm" (Dirty Knobby Industries)

Beauty Hunters' best-known member is Mudhoney bassist Guy Maddison, but the trio—who include Sean Hollowell and Curt Buchberger—sound nothing like that Seattle hard-rock institution; nor do they sound anything like Maddison's other bands, Lubricated Goat and Bloodloss. Rather, Beauty Hunters' new album, Muscle Memory, is a synth-heavy opus that ripples synapses and scours brains in the vein of kosmische-brut geniuses Conrad Schnitzler and Kluster/Cluster, with hints of the corrugated beauty found on Robert Fripp/Brian Eno's (No Pussyfooting). Bolstered by stolid drum-machine beats, the three tracks on Muscle Memory find intense ways to pay tribute to the ominous industrial electronics of those artists. This record is much better than most rock musicians' attempt to "go electronic."

"Gentlemen of the Other Firm" is by far the shortest track here at 5:31, but it's not exactly radio fodder, unless we're talking about the most adventurous college-radio selectors or graveyard-shift DJs at KEXP. That being said, this piece bears a majestic melody amid the rugged bass frequencies and crispy, distorted arpeggios. Beauty Hunters create the sensation that you're being hurtled end over end by mysterious forces in deep space, enhanced by the warped robot voice seemingly beamed in from a late-era Kraftwerk album. "Gentlemen of the Other Firm" might be a hit in a world where that group's Ralf and Florian are as famous as Lennon and McCartney.

Beauty Hunters' record release party takes place Sunday, January 19, at Westedge Cycle with guest DJs Dan Peters and Johnny Samra; they also perform Saturday, January 25 at Hex Enduction Records & Books with Bill Horist.