Release Date: Jun 26, 2012
Record label: Dead Oceans Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Indie Rock, Noise Pop, Shoegaze
With parts of the New York music scene having devolved into insufferable twee-ness, there’s never been a greater exigency for A Place to Bury Strangers—a band that would sooner draw blood from your ears than tears from your eyes. Indeed, APTBS have never been shy about the business of sonic terror. But their newest, the relentlessly brilliant Worship, seems designed to drive the listening public violently to their knees.
Onwards to the Wall, the EP A Place to Bury Strangers issued between this album and Exploding Head, suggested the band was headed in a harder-edged, more streamlined direction that felt all the more radical given their previous full-length's wind tunnel dream pop. However, it isn't that easy to sum up where the band is going on Worship, and that's a big part of what makes these some of their finest and most interesting songs. A Place to Bury Strangers delivers on Onwards to the Wall's retro-futuristic grind -- which was as comfortable with Suicide's electro-punk as it was with My Bloody Valentine's wide guitar swaths -- particularly on "You Are the One," which builds from sleek beats into off-the-rails guitar explosions as it conflates love with collisions.
It’s admirable how blatantly the guys in A Place to Bury Strangersstill wear their influences on their noise-soaked sleeves. Sure, you may think that, by now—three albums and a kajillion EPs after their first releases in 2006—the band should be well beyond their Mary Chain-aping days, and, to be fair, the first notes of Worship don’t sound so much like the Reid Bros. No, “Alone” starts off the third APTBS album by sounding like electro-goth-gazers Curve … covering a Jesus and Mary Chain song.
"A disturbing, but utterly all-consuming listen." Gloomy, visceral, dark and disturbing, the new album from A Place To Bury Strangers conjures up the image of some kind of Mad Max-esque future post-apocalypse. A world where haunted memories of life as it was cling to the nightmarish atmospherics that hang in the background of ‘Alone’ and ‘Slide‘, where the crashing, cataclysmic guitar lines ‘of You Are The One’ and ‘Worship’ mimic the twisted steel of a thousand cities burnt to the ground, and where the tortured vocals of ‘Fear’ replicate the petrified cries from the desperate few human survivors. A disturbing but utterly all-consuming listen.
A Place to Bury StrangersWorship[Dead Oceans; 2012]By Cole Zercoe; August 2, 2012Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOGThere’s a moment in “You Are the One,” towards the very end of the track, where every previously established element of the song begins to collapse. The distortion moves back and forth between speaker channels, slowly increasing in both pitch and intensity, until it finally gives way to pure, oppressive, indescribable noise. It’s disorienting, overwhelming, invasive.
There's no denying that A Place to Bury Strangers' Oliver Ackermann knows his way around an effects pedal; pretty much every review of the New York noise-rock trio becomes a de facto advertisement for his guitar-gadgets company, Death by Audio. But three albums in, Ackermann is still learning his way around a pop song: Where 2009's Exploding Head found A Place to Bury Strangers becoming a little less shy about letting their melodies poke through the static, this year's Onwards to the Wall EP saw Ackermann reverting to a stern-faced, sunglasses-indoors emotional distance and taking sanctuary within the band's strobe-lit squall. The apparent backsliding again raises the question of whether there's something more to the band than just the most exquisitely sculpted feedback that the Edge's money can buy.
"Our sound is about our aesthetic," said A Place to Bury Strangers' Oliver Ackermann in a recent NOW interview about the Brooklyn-based trio's third LP. That aesthetic, established on their mercilessly pulverizing 2007 debut, essentially relies on custom gear and studio experimentation (like lighting shit on fire) to flush out the many facets of "loud as fuck." On Worship, Ackermann emphasizes vocals and melody, but unlike many of the shoegaze forerunners his wasted, wheezing vocals so accurately ape, he's unable to write songs or lyrics anywhere near as gripping as his brilliantly overdriven arrangements. The most satisfying moments - the pounding opening bars of Alone, the lacerating solos on Revenge - are purely visceral.
Brooklyn’s A Place to Bury Strangers has always essentially been a Jesus and Mary Chain cover band. Yeah, the group trades in original material, that’s not being contested (it also makes its own effect pedals and throws in Cure-style chorused guitar bits over the overwhelming roar it generates, it should be known). But when you get down to it, over the course of a career that has so far spanned two previous LPs and a smattering of shorter releases, APTBS’ modus operandi has—either consciously or subconsciously—been to reverentially recreate the scarier moments of the Scottish noise pop act’s totemic Psychocandy.
Did I ever tell you my favourite A Place To Bury Strangers story? Not the one where I inadvertently revealed my foreignness by fangirling all over Oliver Ackermann while my Australian companions had the good sense to maintain the trademarked Melbournian air of nonchalance bordering on condescension. No, I'm talking about the time following the release of Exploding Head when two individuals on two continents, both unknown to one another, asked - no, DEMANDED - whether I'd picked up the album yet because it had my name written all over it. I cannot think of a bigger compliment than being associated with the sound of A Place To Bury Strangers.
Noise is almost inevitably part of the equation when it comes to churning out good rock and roll. But while most bands accept it as a simple byproduct of their overall sound, others like A Place to Bury Strangers treat screaming wails of feedback and ear-bleeding distortion as means to their own end. The band’s unhinged brand of shoegaze-y noise rock has made the New York trio one of the more polarizing bands in the indie rock underground in recent years, leaving listeners barely any wiggle room to choose between joining those who love them and those who run for cover.
The self-proclaimed loudest band in New York sure did run out of things to say by their third record. To be fair, Worship speaks through a tremendous instrumental palette, one that suits and occasionally upgrades the tradition of post-punk songscapes that birthed it. These riffs are durable, haunting portraits of a highly contemporary daymare that suggest some cinematic hybrid of Drive and Blade Runner—inspired stuff to say the least.
The main guy out of APTBS also makes FX pedals. They’re called stuff like ‘Total Sonic Annihilation’ and make guitars sound like kittens being murdered. He’s good at this. The problem with his band, three albums in, is that they just sound like an excuse to demonstrate his products. We all ….
When you’re contained by walls on every side like New York City’s noise-rock band A Place To Bury Strangers, sometimes it’s best to adapt to those surroundings to survive. And seemingly, that’s what the band has done for years now, imitating that reverberated and echoed urban sound within its own blend of fuzz-heavy, pulsing shoegaze. Borrowing wall-of-sound techniques from revered ’80s noise pioneers, such as the Jesus And Mary Chain and My Bloody Valentine, with 2009’s Exploding Head, APTBS burrowed itself in a basement so dense and humid with layered distortion and vocal delay that it can make the unprepared listener feel claustrophobic.
This is a record that demands to be turned up loud. Even more than most, it sounds better the louder you play it, because that's the way it was designed. Though constructed from feedback and abrasion, pounding beats and thuggish bass, the music never distorts painfully, never loses its shape or blurs around the edges as it reaches the point of overload.
New York drone dons A Place To Bury Strangers release their new album ‘Worship’ to high expectations. After the 2009 scuzz rock masterpiece ‘Exploding Head’ they set the noise bar extremely high. ‘Worship’ is an entirely a self-produced affair, and unfortunately this independence hasn’t done them any favours.Churning lead track ‘You Are The One’ is a slowed-down, drugged-out anti-love love anthem.