A Place to Bury Strangers
A Place to Bury Strangers
omewhere after 1960, Man found the new primal release...
...in our contemporary world of monorails, cars, airplanes, iPods, cyborgs, cereal bars, defibrillators, jet-packs, nukes, lasers beams, and post-modern-philosophy, the experience of conjuring fuzzy waves of noise with guitars, pedals, and blown-outputs is the new embodiment of release; in a cold world of technology and formality, it charms the illusive element of electricity into contemporary man’s naked, liberated jaunt through the woods with the glow of a freshly started fire with sticks rubbed together and a howl at the moon...
These shredded shrieks and disorienting whirls stretch the senses in a welcomingly painful sort of way...like a great big yawn that ends with a tinge of pain through your back muscles as you extend your arms upward.
But at the same time, A Place To Bury Strangers (a Brooklyn-based trio Oliver Ackermann-guitars/vox, Jay Space-drums, Jono Mofo-bass) is not a heavy-handed, overly intellectual protest against melody or the restraints of structure, nay; the recording of this album is amazingly crisp and galvanizes each layer (feedback, fuzz-effected guitar, bass grooves, drum-machines and pounded percussion) so perfectly that you can almost feel them fall upon you as distinctive raindrops. It feels less like a dissertation on the absolute uniqueness of noise pop (anyone can learn to play C-sharp and G-minor, but can you make it sound like a dying Tyrannosaurus?) and more like a real guitar-player’s album of straight-forward experimentation with shoegaze-inflected drones and a mingling of goth and dance-rock.
Every review will name-drop My Bloody Valentine here…but Stranger’s self-titled lacks the dizzying waywardness of the former’s flagship Loveless and almost never (and if so, always briefly) loses the downbeat, a distant pound of the skins can always be felt so that the listener is never lost, albeit overwhelmed by the jet-engine-esque roar of feedback that haunts the overall narrative like a specter—sometimes hovering and other times falling upon you like a shroud.
The captivating effect this creates is one of openness and claustrophobia…sometimes at the same time. Ackermann’s vox-effected, ghost-robot vocals sound as chilly as any of the trio’s darkly-noise-pop predecessors (Jesus and Mary Chain) and conjures bleak-but-beautiful imagery of suburban dystopias and overly-technologized-nihilism.
Ackermann’s buzzed-voice of quasi-monotone poetics float serenely over disarming Cure-like new wave melodies (“I Know I’ll See You”) with arresting pedal effects. The relentless machine gun rhythms and wavy grooves of “To Fix a Gash in Your Head” reveal a dark and frazzled vision of New Order. For all-out-bash-the-mailboxes-as-you-bull-down-the-street-noise: “Missing You” provides driving percussion and metallic clangs of explosive reverb. “The Falling Sun” is clearly the potent centerpiece, a solemn but powerful beat slowly marches as Ackermann conjures a trembling, heartbreaking tone that eventually crashes against you like a wave as he laments, “I feel so far away…”
Set aside that their influences show on their sleeve. This is a staggering debut with layers of errant, mystical roars born from man’s relationship between his guitar, a chord, and a speaker. A noisy escape in a world too clearly delineated. A primal scream that’s plugged in...