Saturday, March 3, 2012

REVIEW: Disappears - Pre Language

6.5 out of 10

Disappears have never shied from embracing their influences. Almost every song of theirs is entangled in a nostalgic web of Krautrock propulsion, Shoegaze haze, Drone-heavy distortion, and dissociative vocals. This is no different on their newest release, 'Pre Language', the first album album of theirs to include Steve Shelley's imaginative drumming.

The effect of the band's marriage with Kranky Records is evident on 'Pre Language'. What made 'Guider' such an intriguing release – its focus on repetition, its cavernous guitar tones, its excellent dynamic control (all things we have grown to love from Kranky) – are only heightened on this album. We've got Krautrock rhythms reminiscent of Battles' 2007 masterpiece 'Mirrored' on songs like “Replicate” and “Joa.” There's the claustrophobic, minimal, and dark Post-Rock riffs of the title track. Even some echoing drones and drawn-out vocals are present on “Love Drug” – arguably the album's best five minutes. The track has a lagging rhythm that holds us back until, like an injection of some drug, we're thrown out of a trance into a frenzied climax that is among the loudest moments in Disappears' discography. (This is said for a band whose sound has been compared to standing next to a jet that's firing its engines in preparation for takeoff.)

Let's jump back to 2011. Remember the closing track off of 'Guider', “Replicate”? Not in recent memory has a Rock song interwoven so many styles and movements, with its momentous rhythms, hypnotic riffs, and psych-heavy effects stretched out into fifteen minutes of sheer aural ecstasy. To me that song is Disappears at their best; it embodies what the band should be: a collision of past sounds that arise out of the rubble as indecipherable and anonymous, fresh and new. Though on 'Pre Language', the band unfortunately often falls short of this ideal. However well-written and entertaining it may be, Disappears' newest release doesn't come off as much as a riveting collision of genres as it does a routine hybrid. There's still plenty of interesting elements that grant it merit, but don't expect 'Pre Language' to offer you an experience different and better than their previous works.

Standout Tracks: Pre Language, Minor Patterns, Love Drug

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