Parts & Labor
On Parts & Labor’s debut last year I was ill-prepared for the sustained level of noise output by the trio. It was so thick, rich and suffocating but held together with an undeniable bubblegum pop filling. With this in mind and gritted teeth in preparation for their second onslaught I put on Mapmaker and was surprised yet again. That pop core is still there, but it’s taken to slowly spreading through the cracks and fissures in the band’s noise rock facade. On these songs, despite Dan Friel’s pulsing electronics and Christopher Weingarten’s inhuman drumming, melody is constantly blooming like quick bursts of springtime beauty in a technological apocalypse. Take “New Crimes” for instance; there’s a skittish guitar lead that shortly and sweetly links the song’s verse lyrics in the midst of the buzzing hive of the rhythm section. At any given moment, Mapmaker is as solid an ode to pop music as it is to willful inaccessibility. It’s all a long way from industrial music’s goth roots and noise’s aloof pretensions. Parts & Labor should be commended for dragging this sub-genre of synth music away from its tortured beginnings, kicking and screaming into the sunlight where it belongs.