Place To Bury Strangers

Place To Bury Strangers

Place To Bury Strangers

Exploding Head


Place To Bury Strangers, oft-dubbed the loudest band in New York (a sadly reductive way to describe such an exciting and rich listening sonic splatter), hit upon the perfect storm of teenage caveman surliness, The Jesus and Mary Chain god-awful noise, Gothic bleakness, and lost choirboy vocals, all buried under an itchy blanket of feedback with their self-titled debut. Bettering it would be a Sisyphean task, so the Strangers have wisely decided to change up their sound, adding elements of industrial Sturm und Drang, The Stone Roses’ ecstatic pop-trance, and postpunk monochromatics to keep things good and alien. And I won’t lie, Exploding Head falls short of the good, simple, visceral thrills and warped perfection of their debut, even though this is a more cohesive listening experience (the debut was culled from a number of CD-Rs), there are some growing pains evident and it’s clear that guitarist/vocalist Oliver Ackermann, Jono MOFO (bass), and Jay Space (drums) felt they had to adapt or die. New sonic textures and noises are aired with varying results. Yet the highs are fucking high.

“Deadbeat” is a rude blast of cyborg rockabilly, all heavy-trip crashes and squalling feedback overwhelming a lean one-note riff and a continual protestation of “Why? What the fuck? / Don’t play with my heart.” “Keep Slipping Away” conjures up the Cure when they were wearing red lipstick around their eyes and hanging out in graveyards penning ace tunes like “One Hundred Years”; so, yeah, it’s mantric, crystalline excellence. “Everything Always Goes Wrong” is just overloaded ultraviolence. Dig the guitar that sounds like either sirens or heavy machinery buckling under its own weight, a liquid-metal bassline that never falters, corrugated tin-roof drumming, and expressionless vocals that menace and sneer without the slightest affectation. And check out that messy-ass one string guitar solo! “Ego Death” starts out like a Suicide outtake and then roars to life on a monstrous fuzztone riff that hovers like a swollen gray raincloud.

There are no real bum tracks to point out, no easy scapegoats, the songs just don’t connect as quickly. Exploding Head is on par with the new Horrors album, in terms of sound and ambition. Now THAT would be a double bill.

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