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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Past (im)perfect, future uncertain , present just fine & dandy.
I had come to the conclusion that I had definitely hit middle age. Finally having reached 47 I have had to admit that most of last years music left me rather cold and I have got to the stage where I am genuinely, with no sense of irony ,bemoaning the state of modern music.
However hearing Constant Future by Parts & Labor has got me , gasp, excited about new music...
Published on 7 Mar. 2011 by russell clarke

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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Partly Laboured
Almost ten years into defining experimental noise-rock, the New York nucleus of BJ Warshaw and Dan Friel are still at it with their now fifth album proper. Less arty than their last, which drew on fans' submissions to create a "collage" rather than an album, Constant Future is a return to the pair's bread and butter.

As such, their hook-laden noise is wholly...
Published on 7 Mar. 2011 by Gannon


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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Past (im)perfect, future uncertain , present just fine & dandy., 7 Mar. 2011
By 
russell clarke "stipesdoppleganger" (halifax, west yorks) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Constant Future (Audio CD)
I had come to the conclusion that I had definitely hit middle age. Finally having reached 47 I have had to admit that most of last years music left me rather cold and I have got to the stage where I am genuinely, with no sense of irony ,bemoaning the state of modern music.
However hearing Constant Future by Parts & Labor has got me , gasp, excited about new music again ...and rock music at that. Next thing you know I will be lauding the state of British TV drama. On second thoughts , lets not get carried away.
Co-produced by David Fridmann, who has previously worked with Mogwai, the Flaming Lips, and MGMT, and apparently recorded in a boxing ring in Milwaukee, this is an album that appropriately packs a solid punch. With off kilter melodies framed by scuzzy and brazen guitar motifs( cleverly augmented by shrill counterpoint riffs ) and shrill keyboards the vocals sound slightly adrift from the rest of the songs , bathed in time phased echo effect that could , in less dextrous hands , come across as pointless affectation. Somehow though it works.
However what really makes this album , apart the fact there are some cracking songs -"Rest", "Fake Names", "Outnumbered " and the title track for instance- is the drumming of Joe Wong who gives the music a percussive wallop that is not to be underestimated. Listen to "Echo Chamber " ,where his thunderous drum rolls recall John Bonham at his muscular greatest or the sudden noise distend on "Hurricane " where his flayed skins come rocketing out the speakers with such force i almost ducked. Music in 3D.
Other two band members Dan Friel and BJ Warshaw also harmonise adeptly and though the songs are abrasive , loud and almost dissonant at times there is a tangible pop element to this music that pulls it back from being just strident and angry machismo .Not that everything on Constant Future is all noise and fury , "A Thousand Roads " is almost hymnal and the folk tinged "Without A Seed " and the shimmering "Never Changer " show that here is a band with more than one string to their mighty bow.
For me this album came out of nowhere( I listened to the MP3 samples on Amazon , just on a whim ) but am I ever glad it came at all. It's terrific , and along with Yuks Yuckexcellent new album shows that rock music is not quite the emaciated cadaver I thought it was. The future is constant and always evolving and with albums like this it just might be a brighter future for music than I anticipated. But for now the present is just fine and dandy .
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Analogue Rock Retro-Futures, 19 April 2011
By 
J. Holloway (Manchester, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Constant Future (Audio CD)
I imagine Parts & Labor HQ in Brooklyn to have one room which is rammed to the ceiling with slowly becoming obsolete technology that has been salvaged and lovingly restored by the duo B.J. Warshaw and Dan Friel. These machines spend most of the year joyfully chirping and bleeping to one another oblivious to the outside world. And then, when their whimsy takes them, Warshaw and Friel unlock the door and offer up a secret incantation that makes the technology sing the sweetest and most uplifting of melodies. The pair add driving and filthy bass, hammering drums and crunching guitars, and an album is born. The door is then closed and the machines continue to discourse to one another in their own perplexing and contented way.

I don't care if this scenario has no basis in reality; all you need to know is that Constant Future is another stunning and essential album by Parts & Labor. It's noisy, often fast, always euphoric, and with the folkish hint to the vocals (often ignored in reviews) the album retains a sense of a bucolic past that compliments and counters the analogue/digital retro-future ritually conjured elsewhere. It's the perfect example of why rock music has a bright future when handled by people with an imagination, foresight and intelligence.

Constant Future might be less of a noise-electro-punk head-spin as Mapmaker or Stay Afraid, but only the naïve and frankly stupid ignore a band for maturing and honing their sound. Just buy it.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Partly Laboured, 7 Mar. 2011
By 
Gannon (Manchester, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Constant Future (Audio CD)
Almost ten years into defining experimental noise-rock, the New York nucleus of BJ Warshaw and Dan Friel are still at it with their now fifth album proper. Less arty than their last, which drew on fans' submissions to create a "collage" rather than an album, Constant Future is a return to the pair's bread and butter.

As such, their hook-laden noise is wholly approachable when comparing it to (white)noise terrorists like, say, Kevin Drumm, and also far cleaner in terms of fidelity than, say, the early incarnations of Times New Viking. And, as perhaps can be expected therefore, it would seem that 2011's Parts & Labor are very much functioning as elder statesmen of a niche rock genre often do.

Maturity breeds confidence, but it also breeds complacency, and Constant Future is an amalgamation of both. So, although we find spiky keyboard patterns bathing in distortion, buzzing passages of retro-futurist drone and, crucially, mesmerising melodies aplenty under the Constant Future banner, equally do we find a lack of invention and shrug-worthy song-craft. At one point, "Hurricane" even lapses into the sort of beefy instrumental joke Fang Island attempted to peddle last year.

The result is surprisingly poppy, sounding not unlike Sunset Rubdown if Spencer Krug were to have a greater predilection for mucking about with keyboards, as well as fewer concessions to grandeur. Yet, what is also evident is an acute case of consistency. Constant Future nails the first half of its given title in this respect, but it also fails to provide many - if any - standout moments. In this environment, few tracks are discernible from the mix. For example, the keys are always pitched at the same skitter, the drums always snappy and prominent.

Logically, it's a struggle to label an album both experimental and safe, but it's a juxtaposition with which Constant Future, if not Parts & Labor, may have to live.
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