on 8 January 2008
The first sixteen bars of opening track "Missing You" play the same sequence of notes over and over again and last for no more than 24 seconds. Yet this is long enough for you to already get lost in the dense fog of sonic fuzz that is the motif of this debut album from New York three-piece A Place To Bury Strangers. Moreover, the song also introduces you to Oliver Ackermann's typically bleak, monotone, and indistinct style of singing, as well as his own handmade pedals that are used to alter his guitar's sounds so much.
Indeed, if this first song is the modern day equivalent of Ian Curtis fronting for Jesus & Mary Chain, then the next one, "Don't Think Lover", sees his namesake, Ian Brown performing in a similar capacity for My Bloody Valentine. This retro theme of 1980s UK super groups continues later on then with Morrissey being the lead man for New Order on "I Know I'll See You"!
The band claims to be the loudest band in New York. Given that the good folk of this city are famed for not being reticent about getting their point of view across, this is quite a boast. The songs themselves are an independent release of various recordings that they have made up and until now. This also helps to explain the somewhat disunited feel to the album. Since releasing this album the band have signed a recording contract, with a new album expected out later this year.
Another key feature of the album is its, at times, intense use of treble-laden synthesized loops. This is most notable on "To Fix The Gash In Your Head", where the impenetrable wall of white noise laid down seems to be the cause of the problem in the first place!
My favourite song though is "Another Step Away". Ackermann's distorted vocals are punishing here in their darkness and sparseness. Later on, "She Dies" is a haunting song where Ackermann sings distantly over a drum machine in the gaps between dense wails of contorted noise. It is followed by the epically surging sounds of "My Weakness" and the droning melody of final track "Ocean".
The overall sense for the album is that rather than burying strangers, the band has instead been calling upon the spirits of great British guitar bands from 20-25 years ago. Not they are the first nor the last to do this. That said, they clearly have the ability to take this source material as a starting point and then fashion their own intensely layered sonic textures from it. Even so, if history does tend to repeat itself, then the chances are that this band will never sound so raw, remorseless, and riveting again. Commercial realities often seem to have that effect... So, play this album loudly. And be unapologetic about doing so! Its time to wake the dead!
on 8 November 2008
Just warrants adding in respect of this excellent eponymous debut, this is in fact the re-release of the same self titled CD released last year on Killer Pimp (also listed here on Amazon), but in addition to having been Remastered, this release also includes an additional 5 tracks which are not listed on the Item Description. Shop smart ;-)
If you appreciate this and the like you'll definitely then also dig their previous stuff, pre APTBS Oliver Ackermann was the bass player in Skywave with two other guys who went on to form Ceremony (less outright noise, more drum machine). Just as noisy as this but a little less industrial, and a bit more 'organic'. Very good. Nigh impossible to find on CD anywhere, save the odd ridiculously priced copy of their finest hour and swan song 'Synthstatic'.
The Bonus tracks on this are essentially pre-empting the first Album 'proper' due out early next year (this is a collection of early Singles, Demos, etc.). These additional tracks are a great deal more even tempo'd and evocative than most of the the album tracks here IMHO and definitely induce that eerie submersive drowning sensation, that can only be generated by the finest Shoegaze excesses.
on 24 October 2012
This debut album by New York noise manufacturers APTBS is a colossal wall of harsh, metallic, powerful, razor sharp, barb wire spewing, alien, foreboding, disorientating, threatening, kaleidoscopic, psychedelic, shoegazing, seizure-inducing, nerve shredding, adrenaline pumping, sense pummeling, synapse firing, knuckles in the face, distorting, convulsing, rampaging, unravelling, careering, headache inducing, wince making, bowel loosening, ear bleeding, journey into the heart of white noise, pressing your eyes against the rocket trail of Saturn V, effects pedal bashing, string breaking, wire chewing, strobe light flashing, lightning up your spine, electric shock, sheer uncontrollable beautiful, wonderful, amazing, awe inspiring, once in a lifetime... thesaurus pillaging... edifice of oh-my-god Oliver Ackermann is a genius of an album.
So why 4 stars instead of 5? Cos Exploding Head is better!!!
on 19 November 2009
Saw this trio live last night. Ear plugs were for sale which I luckily bought (first band that did this were motorhead on silent night tour! I wisely bought them then.) Treated to an hour or so of continuous no interuption feedback and amazing body slamming music. Reminded me of Cure live Pornography tour, Joy Dividion, New Order Ceremony, John McGeoch Banshees Voodoo dolly, J&MC and Nirvana. Smashed 2 guitars and god help you if your epilepsy is triggered by strobe. Nice to see a three piece, the separation of the instruments creats a stark, unsettling despairing sound. This album and exploding head need to be played at full blast in the car to even approach the live act but the recordings will never match the 10mins plus of improvisation and audio anarchy of the last song. The drum and base thudding relentlessly made you feel like your innards were trembling and I left with a thumping headache...but worth it.
on 3 February 2009
This eponymous debut is one long, gigantic, sonic assault of My Bloody Valentine and Jesus & Mary Chain collisions, all sieved through an actual heap of fuzzy distortion. For fans of the aforementioned and pedal abuse, this is a must.
Dubbed the 'loudest band in New York', APTBS fulfill their promise and more. 'Falling Sun' sounds like it ought to, and depicts feedback-heavt, epic decay very aptly, 'To Fix The Gash In Your Head' is no-wave, industrial synth pummeling.
Part beauty, entirely beast - you need APTBS in your collection for no other reason to blow the dust out of your lazy speakers. The drawback on this opus is purely that the peaks are so high, that the rest pales only in comparison. No pity really, as sustained levels of this kind of ear-bashing would be damaging to all.