Dan Friel’s debut solo album doesn’t stray very far from the path paved by the heavily pixelated industrial pop of his full-time outfit Parts & Labor. He’s still fusing the dirtiest, most abrasive electronic sounds into dance-floor burners and shockingly pleasant soundscapes.
There’s a new wave bounce of canned drums lumbering through the vertiginous clash of synth on “Buzzard” and a semblance of the missing link between Black Moth Super Rainbow’s perma-stoned pastoral weirdness and Atari Teenage Riot’s sonic revolution on “Ghost Town (Pt. 2).” The chainsaw nightmare “Singing Sand” offers up the most confrontational moment; it’s a growling, shrieking mess that stays the executions just long enough to inject snippets of church organ to leaven the horror. For the most part, the distortion pumping through Ghost Town feels closer to peach fuzz than steel wool, but that only adds to its accessibility.
There are genuine periods of crossover, when Friel blurs the line quite well, but what’s most striking here is that he’s able to make something quite epic and anthemic using only low-end electronics and toy instruments. It speaks volumes about his skill as a musician — he’s able to tell this head-trip of a story, having checked his voice at the door.
Important Records: www.importantrecords.com