Thursday, March 1, 2012

Disappears: Pre Language - Album Review

Pre Language
Rating: Yeah Daddy Make Me Want It

Refining their sound more and more on each subsequent album, Disappears release their third album Pre Language, which shows a more focused approach with their sound, but still holding on a little too soundly to their influences. The band, led by Brian Case, with Jonathan Van Herik on guitar, Damon Carruesco on bass, and newly cemented official band member Steve Shelley of Sonic Youth on drums, mines a bevy of different alt-rock heavies. From the grinding, hypnotic pull of Loop, the motorik quality of Can, the acerbity of The Fall, and of course the guitar explorations of Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr., and The Pixies, Disappears has forged a meaty, muscular sound that sometimes transcends the "haven't I heard this sound before?" nature of the music and becomes something new. Too often, the band appears too tethered to artists they admire, and it becomes more a game of spot the influence. Despite this criticism, Pre Language is an engaging album, full of interesting guitar explorations.

Honestly, there is not a weak track on the record. I loved the Sonic Youth strut of opening track "Replicate," with its semi-martial beats, groaning guitars, and yelping Mark E. Smithesque vocals.

The fuzzy rush of MBV guitars on the rave-up "Hibernation Sickness."

The PiL-like angular, screech of "Joa" and "Love Drug."

There are also moments of plain old rock fury. Title track "Pre Language" earns its stripes with a rollicking guitar through line.

"Fear of Darkness" forms from a Wire tight rhythm section and scraping guitars over Case's barked vocal.

But while these tracks are all fine on their face, and indeed, engage the listener and keep them coming back to the album, there is always that nagging feeling that you have heard these songs before, but it is more because of their influences than the band itself. That is the only reason keeping me from giving this album an outright thumbs up. Based on their other tow releases, however, this is a definite step in the right direction, and one that will hopefully push them through to finding their own unique stamp.

Rating Scale:

Chilfos: masterpiece; coolest thing I've heard in ages.

Woof Daddy: excellent; just a hair away from being a masterpiece.

Grrrr: very good; will definitely be considered for my top releases of the year.

Yeah Daddy Make Me Want It: good; definitely invites further listens and peaks one's interest for more material.

Meh: not horrible, but certainly not great; could have either been polished, trimmed, or re-thought.

Jeez Lady: what the hell happened? Just plain bad. They should hang their heads in shame and be forced to listen to Lady Gaga ad nauseam as penance.

Tragicistani: so bad, armed villagers with pitchforks and torches should run the artist out of the country for inflicting this abomination on the human race.

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