Noise de Ultratumba
A Place to Bury Strangers fueron uno de los primeros grupos en volver a reivindicar el movimiento Shoegazer hace unos cuatro años, cuando desempolvaron sus viejos discos de My Bloody Valentine o Slowdive, a los que en seguida les unieron otros de su colección como los de Sonic Youth o Joy Division. Pues bien, APTBS tuvieron ese honor y como sigan en este camino les quedará el dudoso honor de ser los primeros en conseguir que la gente epate del todo con ese resurgimiento Shoegaze-Noise. No soy nada dudoso con este tipo de música y de bandas (ver A Place to Bury Strangers en The JangleBox), pero la verdad es que los de Brooklyn continúan obcecados en facturar una y otra vez el mismo álbum. Y cuando ya vas por el cuarto disco, la verdad es que la cosa ya comienza a tomar tintes de aburrimiento. Eso sí, A Place tienen el honor de ser, realmente, uno de los grupos más ruidosos de toda la escena Noise, en muchos de sus temas es imposible distinguir un rasgueo de guitarra, y el overdrive se convierte en un instrumento protagonista más de la grabación.
Volviendo a lo esencial, Worship no es ni más ni menos que cualquiera de sus predecesores: oscuros trayectos por la realidad más sórdida, por las catacumbas humanas y por la más chirriante musicalidad. Temas oscuros, letras oscuras y actitud nada positiva. Si he de salvar algún que otro tema: Fear, Revenge, Alone, And I´m up …
Como dije en su momento, el formato Ep es mucho más adecuado para sus planteamientos. Un disco entero de A Place to Bury Strangers puede resultar una tarea demasiado ardua.
“Noise is almost inevitably part of the equation when it comes to churning out good rock and roll. But while most bands accept it as a simple byproduct of their overall sound, others like A Place to Bury Strangers treat screaming wails of feedback and ear-bleeding distortion as means to their own end.
The band’s unhinged brand of shoegaze-y noise rock has made the New York trio one of the more polarizing bands in the indie rock underground in recent years, leaving listeners barely any wiggle room to choose between joining those who love them and those who run for cover. It’s a tough, deliberately narrow niche the band caters to, and the music draws a pretty fine line in the sand. Worship, the band’s third full-length effort, won’t do much of anything to swing fans one way or the other. If anything, it only makes the line more defined. The loyal followers will keep on preaching, and their detractors had best keep running.
A Place to Bury Strangers aren’t the first band to mine musical artillery out of sheer guitar drone and squalor. That territory has been worked over by the likes of The Jesus and Mary Chain and My Bloody Valentine, bands that worked out the art of sculpting terse, cranky noise rock soundscapes. A Place to Bury Strangers are unlikely to ever fully escape the comparisons to their forbears, but the trio has done quite well for themselves lurking in the shadows of such indie rock royalty. Their many, many singles and 2009 full-length debut, Exploding Head, laid the band’s stock and trade bare, dishing up loud but visceral bits of shoegaze with a gothic twist, leaving many to rightfully consider them heirs to their predecessors’ shared throne. And the band apparently likes where it stands, at least that’s the impression that’s given on Worship. The album doesn’t bother with moving them in any new direction, but rather serves as a well-aligned extension from the band’s prior offerings.
The band’s traits are on full display on album opener “Alone”, which comes complete with dense, robotic drumming, fuzzed-out bass, frontman Oliver Ackermann’s aloof, sing-speak vocals, and, of course, copious amounts of coarse guitar work. The wide swath of the record’s remaining tracks cover similarly raucous ground. “Mind Control” gets gloriously lost in layer upon layer of face-melting distortion, while “Why I Can’t Cry Anymore” is a doom-rock track groomed for the apocalypse.
Other songs, though, show some surprising restraint in stretches. “You Are the One” threatens to keep the band’s noisier inclinations at bay, at least to start. The drums pitter pat subtly, while Ackermann’s guitar wafts spaciously over his understated, muted vocals, all before the band returns to its haunting noise rock ways. Even more disarming are dream popish tracks like “Dissolved” and “And I’m Up”, which, despite scaling back the hemorrhaging decibel levels, still sounds as tense and brooding as anything elseWorship has to offer.
But therein lies the record’s beauty, and, really, that of the band in general. First-time listeners will likely find Worship a grind to get through, and even those with ears more acutely tuned to the band’s mind-melting, wall of noise style might not make it through the whole album in one listen. Fortunately, the release unlocks more answers and offers up more rewards with each additional listen. Beneath the cacophonous rumbling on the surface, the music is actually very lush and textured, even in its own spectacularly loud way. Worship, like Exploding Heart before it, is a grower, music that only truly reveals itself with time, attention, and lots of repeated listens.
But it’s worth it. History has shown that time is often kind to bands of the shoegaze/noise rock variety. Few people knew quite what to make of albums like Psychocandy andLoveless upon first release, but they’ve done pretty well for themselves over the years. Listening to Worship, there’s no reason to doubt that the band and the record could one day find themselves in similarly high regard. By hitting a striking balance between the jarring, the eerie, and the oddly sweet and ambient, A Place to Bury Strangers have offered up another winning album that, while hardly the most pop-friendly record you’ll hear this year, proves itself worthy of revisiting” (consequenceofsound.net)
Onwards to the wall (2012) es el título del último disco de A Place to Bury Strangers. Los neoyorquinos, viejos conocidos en TJB, están de vuelta con un formato de lo más adecuado a su música. Así al menos lo entiendo, porque APTBS son una banda que, como dijimos en otra ocasión, me parece una banda un tanto histriónica. Su manera de interpretar su concepto de Shoegaze es demasiado oscura y ampulosa en ocasiones, y sus producciones tienden a ser bastante recargadas. En esta ocasión no iba a ser menos, y aunque siguen transitando por esa cara menos amable del Noise y del Post-Punk, no todos sus temas me resultan demasiado agradables. De hecho me quedo con los dos primeros: I lost you y la ya conocida So far away, dos buenos ejemplos del mejor Noise-Pop que podemos encontrar en el planeta Pop del siglo ventiuno.
“In November of last year, A Place to Bury Strangers released “So Far Away”, the first taste from Onwards to the Wall, the follow-up EP to their 2009 sophomore album, Exploding Head. As a song, “So Far Away” carried a lot of the same hallmarks of the material that had immediately preceded it, but unlike the screeching, industrial-minded manic power that defined much of their terrifically visceral self-titled debut, it’s a groomed, economic kind of song that rounds-off all of the dangerous, splintered ends. More notable was the video that accompanied the track, a sort of “flipbook” montage of frontman Oliver Ackermann’s own personal Hipstamatic photos, stitched together to create a stop-motion-animation effect, except with real live people and settings. Like rifling through the iPhone of a very busy and well-traveled guy, it’s actually a unique, voyeuristic peek into the progression of a person’s year, complete with amorous cavorting, gigging, and passenger-side window boredom, all set in some pretty stunning locales. But it should be said that, aside from containing plenty of APTBS-related snaps thrown in the mix, it’s not a video that feels terribly representative of Ackermann’s band. After a half-decade, A Place to Bury Strangers aren’t an act that’s allowed their music to do much moving around, and when they have, they’ve let moodier tendencies prevail. In other words, if the “Stay Away” video had solely been a document of APTBS’s progression, it wouldn’t have been nearly as engaging.
Onward to the Wall opens with “I Lost You”, and while it remains firmly in the band’s wheelhouse, it feels indicative of the APTBS that lives in the mind: A pummeling onslaught of of banshee-wail guitar stacked on top of a chugging motorik bass riff, plus some gnarly, rancid feedback. In essence, it’s a no-prisoners take that, while nothing new, is welcomingly jarring. It is by far the best of the five tracks offered here, a return-to-form that seems to take the more calculated moves on Exploding Head and re-routes them back in the right direction. Unfortunately, the rest of Onward to the Wall takes even fewer chances than Exploding Headdid. The reality begins to set in that, try as they might, this is a band resigned to making “mature” post-punk tunes instead of tapping into its live-wire essence. Because when the title track shares more in common with an old She Wants Revenge cut than the slow-lane Dum Dum Girls cut it secretly wants to be, well, we got a problem. In essence, if there’s anything to be learned from this EP, it’s that the majority of APTBS’s career can be chalked up to playing it safe. Which, for a lot of us, is wildly disheartening.
It isn’t to say there aren’t some great little moments tucked in here and there. “Nothing Will Surprise Me” brings in bracing cat-in-heat guitar moans over a hardcore backbeat, plus there’s the aforementioned “I Lost You”. But it means we’re left with three other tracks that are characterless at best. I’ve never been too big a fan of Ackermann’s goth-y, dead-eyed delivery, but it seems here as if the music is using his vocals as something of a guiding light. It amounts to a mostly homogenous, toothless EP that seems to be aiming for a greater appeal, but ends up appealing very little.
Perhaps the most problematic thing about Onward to the Wall is its timing. As the profile of New York City bands making dangerous, abrasive, and loud music becomes increasingly elevated, you can’t help but yearn for the APTBS of five years ago. It would’ve been great to see them help supplement a bill along with the ranks of pig-fuck revivalists, black metal revisionists, and nü-noiseniks. Here, they sound disconnected from what made them so visceral and captivating in the first place, as if they’re almost scared to go back. Instead, they’ve resigned to making more color-by-numbers post punk that uses too many grays and not enough pure blacks, and as time goes on, it feels as if their paint brush water is being incrementally diluted by half” (pitchfork.com)
A Place to Bury Strangers fueron una de las revelaciones del año pasado con su Ego Death (2009), uno de los mejores discos del curso pasado para quien escribe. Acaban de publicar un Ep titulado I Lived My Life To Stand In The Shadow Of Your Heart y editan igualmente esta versión de David Bowie, Suffragette City, convirtiendo un gran tema del camaleón en toda una oda de furia Noise. El tema está incluido en un álbum de homenaje a Bowie, titulado We were so turned on. Pincha el enlace de abajo para conseguir de forma legal el tema.
“A Place to Bury Strangers had a simple goal for their first proper studio album, the exquisitely-damaged Exploding Head: “The original idea,” says vocalist/guitarist Oliver Ackermann, “was to create the craziest, most fucked-up recording ever.” How crazy, you ask? Enough to justify that Cronenberg-channeling title, for one, as dollops of distortion and flecks of feedback deliver enough controlled chaos to derail a turntable. And if vinyl isn’t your thing, well, let’s just say you’ll be checking the levels on your living room stereo from the second “It Is Nothing” sucks everyone in earshot through a vortex of groove-locked rhythms (hammered out by drummer Jay Space and bassist Jono MOFO) and back-spun power chords. Pain as pleasure, if you will, a beautiful feeling that’s maintained for 43 mesmerizing minutes, from the paranoid android pop of “In Your Heart” and gorgeous gate-crashing melodies of “Keep Slipping Away” to the Chinese water torture chords of “Lost Feeling” and sputtering percussion of “Everything Always Goes Wrong” Not to mention the apocalypse now effects of “Ego Death” the sinewy, slightly sinister overtones of the title track, and the firework finale flare-ups of “I Lived My Life To Stand in the Shadow of Your Heart” “I love the interplay and contrasts between something that’s pretty and something that’s scary,” explains Ackerman. “Taking listeners to different places—even in one song – is so important, whether it makes them cry or pissed off. If you listen closely, some of the riffs on this record are actually like Ramones songs or ’60s bubblegum pop.” While Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound approach makes its presence known in the seared surf guitar lead of “Deadbeat” and the hazy harmonies of “Smile When You Smile,” Exploding Head’s recurring hey-ho-let’s-go vibe stems in part from MOFO, Jono and Jay’s previous project, a perfect fit for the already-in-progress A Place To Bury Strangers, a power trio founded by Ackermann soon after the frontman moved from Virginia to Brooklyn in 2003″ (rcrdlbl.com)
A Place to Bury Strangers ha editado recientemente el tercer single de su aclamado segundo álbum, Exploding Heart (2009), ya reseñado en The JangleBox. Para darle continuidad al buen recibimiento del disco, la banda ha decidido publicar este single, Ego death, acompañado de varias remezclas y algún tema nuevo. Buena mezcla para implementar un tema que ya de por sí tiene calidad suficiente. Distorsión brutal, Psicodelia mezclada con elementos de Shoegaze y Garaje. Buen single si obviamos las tres remixes del tema que da título al Ep.
“The third single from “Exploding Head” is a quiet and nimble little number that illustrates the difference between love and affection behind a wall of disaffected noise. “Ego Death” is hardly ambiguous about the direction it takes as it envelops your soul. Wow. That’s the type of cliched stuff I would want to read on a CD packaging sticker” (ventvox.com)
You’ll be sucked in and blown away by the paranoid android pop of the album’s first single “In Your Heart,” the gorgeous gate-crashing melodies of “Keep Slipping Away,” the Chinese water torture chords of “Lost Feeling,” the sputtering percussion of “Everything Always Goes Wrong,” the apocalypse now effects of “Ego Death,” the sinewy, slightly sinister overtones of the title track, and the firework finale flare-ups of “I Lived My Life To Stand in the Shadow of Your Heart.” The collection makes up the band’s most realized recording to date.
During the “Exploding Head” recording process engineer Andy Smith (Paul Simon, David Bowie) took the band to “a whole other level” says Ackermann. “I love the interplay and contrasts between something that’s pretty and something that’s scary,” he explains. “Taking listeners to different places—even in one song—is so important, whether it makes them cry or pissed off. If you listen closely, some of the riffs on this record are actually like Ramones songs or ’60s bubblegum pop.”
Called “the most ear-shatteringly loud garage/shoegaze band you’ll ever hear” by the Washington Post, A Place To Bury Strangers are now poised to blow minds and speakers alike. Says London’s NME; “The pleasure pain threshold has rarely been more blurred, but rock this ferociously soulful is only good for you if it hurts,” as they noted A Place To Bury Strangers as on of the Ten Best Bands of SXSW 2008″ (musicisamazing.com)