Release Date: Feb 28, 2012
Record label: Kranky
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Rock, Shoegaze
Maybe they're called Disappears because they move so fast: after releasing their first two albums, Lux and Guider, within a year of each other, the Chicago-based band proves once again they're all about motion and momentum with Pre Language. Arriving just over a year after Guider, this is the first Disappears album recorded with Sonic Youth's Steve Shelley, who joined the group when founding drummer Graeme Gibson departed. That's not the only change: over the course of the album, the band channels the same dynamic thrust that made Guider rocket from speakers into tight, focused songs that zoom close to the ground and explode in dazzling blasts.
With Sonic Youth’s Steve Shelley on drums, it appears that the departure of Disappears’ previous sticksman and producer Graeme Gibson hasn’t been all bad for the Chicago four-piece. A look at their history shows that such an event might not have caused a massive effect anyway. Case in point: they erased the entire master tape of debut Lux with the recordings of second album Guider, on which all but one song was done in one take.
When Disappears took shelter in the 15-minute long "Revisiting" at the end of last year's Guider, it felt like they were on the cusp of pushing their music into an audacious new space. There were certainly plenty of associations that could be drawn between that song and other artists-- it fed off an unholy amalgam of the Stooges' grit, the blissful repetition of Can, the planet-sized riffing of Loop. But there was poise to it, a sense of all those elements running off one another to create a glorious noise, mapped out in a place you could retreat to and get lost in for days at a time.
Chicago’s Disappears seemed to have emerged in 2010 with a fully developed sound already in place. Although the band was formed in 2007, they waited until 2010 to release their first album, Lux. From this album emerged a blend of Krautrock, garage rock, and post-punk influences that wouldn’t have sounded out of place in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s.
Chicago’s Disappears really could care less about making any meaningful connection that would catapult them in the success line. They’re driven by the instinctual necessity of making fuzzed-out, big riff songs with the least amount of suppression. A quick glance at their discography displays their liking for large, blown out typefaces and stark, absorbing backgrounds.
Something that outsiders should know about citizens of Chicago is that everything here comes with a modest amount of fight. Chicagoans have spent years battling against the stigma of “The Second City” and that has made them hardened in battle. Their food is survivalistic nose-to-tail creations, their baseball fans are die hard, and their music – their real music – is gritty and snarling.
Disappears are a steady band. Since the release of their first album Lux in early 2010, the Illinois foursome have released a new and captivating record at roughly the same time each year. And on Pre-Language, the third instalment in their dark shoegaze/punk narrative, that steadiness extends to the rhythm and patterns of the music, thanks largely to the services of new drummer, Sonic Youth's Steve Shelley.