A Place to Bury Strangers are loud. Fucking loud. Their debut album was an unsettling catastrophe of guitar squalls and battering ram-sized krautrock drum beats. Think Jesus and Mary Chain as played by The Hulk.
Fans of the group’s self titled debut; in which the band’s more melodic leanings had to be searched for amidst the mountains of scathing feedback and distortion may find Worship a lot like Exploding Head, the band’s second album. In that a lot of the grazing edges have been sawn off; the really blistering moments used as focus points of songs, rather than being the songs. Keep in mind though; this is still an APTBS record. It’s unlikely they’ve been usurped as “the loudest band in New York”, and Worship is full of moments which remind you why.
All Alone opens with a robotic, chugging bass and drum combination, with interspersed guitar squall which shifts from nails on a chalkboard to bombs being dropped. You Are The One sees Oliver Ackermann’s airy-monotone vocals loftily resting atop a sonic apocalypse. Mind Control infuses the classic APTBS driving rhythms and guitar squall with a good dose of eighties goth; but don’t expect anything camp. When Ackerman muses “I’m crazy about you” atop sheets of white noise, there’s nothing funny about it.
Dissolved finds a sweet spot between Beach House and Joy Division before Why I Can’t Cry Anymore makes things sour once again. Revenge is terrifying. And I’m Up sees the band as close as they’ve been to the bay-area garage rock of Thee Oh Sees or Ty Segall. In short, there’s a decent amount of dexterity at work beneath the avalanche of distortion pedals.
If this is your first go at A Place to Bury Strangers, Worship may be the place to start. It’s not so much their “accessible” album; more an album in which you’re teased with their most unnerving and ear-shattering set, rather than being spoon fed with it.
- Alastair Matcott
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