8/10 Mike Staff review, 08 June 2012
I found out the other day that one of the dudes from A Place To Bury Strangers not only makes his own effects pedals but also sells them. That seems like an incredibly savvy way to go about things, since each enterprise must act pretty effectively as a promotional tool for the other. I’m just a bit jealous I didn’t have the idea first, I think.
One positive upshot of this is that his band have a pretty unique tone palette, and those who want to replicate it must advertise that fact through the equipment they’re using. Very cleverly done. The signature sound of this band is a Joy Division-esque post-punk gothy aesthetic, only with loads of scuzzy, dense blocks of noise over everything. The bass is clanky and percussive, the vocals are deep and reverby, and then there’s all manner of admirably nasty trebly guitar mangling over the top.
I have to admit, halfway through the album when they take things down a notch and back off the noise a bit on tracks like ‘Dissolved’ and the obviously Cure-inspired ‘Why I Can’t Cry Anymore’ I’m not as sold. I much prefer it when they’re dishing out a wall of horrible squalling darkpop like the bastard offspring of Suicide and Bauhaus. Thankfully that’s exactly what happens on the next track ‘Revenge’, where they pull out all the stops in an epic scuzz-rock slow-burner with a great big payoff that sounds like Primal Scream might if they grew some balls.
There’s more on here that I like than I don’t, though, definitely, and I always appreciate it when a band comes along with an aesthetic that actually seems recognisably their own, a fact which makes it much easier to forgive the occasional misstep. While I’m not convinced this is as consistent as their fantastic recent ‘Onwards to the Wall’ EP, if you liked that then this is bound to tick the same boxes.
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