Australian trio My Disco have taken minimal sound to the limit on their new album, Severe. It makes for uncomfortable listening at times with dark drones and silence juxtaposed with pounding, stabbing rhythms. The band worked with film composer Cornel Wilczek at the controls which allowed the band more freedom to experiment with studio sounds. Severe is the band’s best album yet.
9/10 Jim Staff review, 04 November 2015Australian trio MY DISCO have a reputation for obsessive, compulsive, minimalist rock that’s stripped down to the Nth degree. ‘Severe’, their first album in five years, somehow manages to reduce things down to an even heavier, harder and meaner sound than before. If this sounds like a logical progression, there are also some surprising departures here; whereas their last two records were recorded with analogue loyalist Steve Albini (with the band’s Albini-worship extending even to their Big Black-derived name), the band proudly proclaim that this record was engineered ‘entirely in the digital domain’ by acclaimed film composer and producer, Cornel Wilczek. And the production is striking- lending a hyper-real, clinical precision to their massive, spacious and abrasive grooves. Opener ‘Recede’ starts with a two note bass riff that is almost electronic sounding in its stark, unwavering repetition. Over this, eerie peals of feedback are punctuated with spaced out stabs of heavily reverbed percussion as a cold, monotone voice repeats the line: ‘recede… into silence’. The dark spaces palpable in the arrangement and the overall sound reminds me of the disciplined brutalism of early Swans. This comparison is compounded further with ‘1991’, which features Gira-esque monastic chants on top of a punishingly martial snare n’ bass motif and trembling guitar atmospherics. As we move into the album’s centre ground, the pace picks up a little with ‘King Sound’ and ‘Our Decade’ working up honed yet primitive, bludgeoning grooves that remind me a little of the Skull Defekts. The shorter length ‘Named’ picks up again on the early Swans vibe with a painfully awkward atonal guitar and a pummelling rhythm backing a disturbingly detached refrain of the words ‘you cannot afford to lose’; making this essential listening for any school kids getting ready for sports day. Then we finish off with ‘Careless’, sounding like a high-definition cloning of Shellac’s rhythm section with the Birthday Party's Rowland S. Howard on guitar and Michael Gira on vox. Superb.
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- Severe by My Disco
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