It was Monolith of 2008. I was walking through one of the indoor stages on my way to somewhere else when I heard this mind-blowing, menacing yet palpitant noise pouring over the eager eyes and ears of the audience, which was fixated on the three-piece annihilating the stage. I pushed my way to the front to find A Place To Bury Strangers; it was love at first ear bleed.
Timing is everything in situations like that, and on the first single “In Your Heart” from Exploding Head, the band’s latest release (October 6, Mute Records), the planets and stars aligned in just one day. Blending the low, brooding tones of Oliver Ackermann’s vocals with the race-track speed of the guitar lines, the song was the first track to be laid down in Graham from Holy Fuck’s barn, setting the bar high for the rest of the album.
The psychedelic, soul-stretching “Keep Slipping Away” sparks a kaleidoscope of hues in a floating room of mirrors; the fast-paced nature of “Everything Always Goes Wrong” is a perfect addition to your snowboarding soundtrack (as long as you don’t pay too much attention to the words…and watch out for that tree); and the vintage feel of “I Live My Life To Stand In The Shadow Of Your Heart” took me back to my days of hitting the DNA Lounge and Kilowatt in SF in the early ‘90s.
Speaking of vintage, …Strangers have received some Cure comparisons (“Primary” from Faith comes to mind), probably due to the scraping, ‘about to pop’ slide of guitars on the title track, “Exploding Head,” or the moody nature of the band’s persona. Shoegazer has been thrown into mix as well, bringing an “ah, yes” response to having Darker My Love and Dead Confederate on the tour.
But those connections still leave an itch that can’t be scratched until you’re up in it, seeing Ackermann twist his body as he breaks into the sandy grit of “Deadbeat,” as Jay Space drums with lightning speed on “It Is Nothing,” or as Jono MOFO’s bass keeps the trio foundation in tact, preventing them from flying up and taking out your head.
A Place to Bury Strangers plays Larimer Lounge on Friday, October 23 with All the Saints and These Are Powers.
Remaining Tour Dates:
10/25/09 – Firebird in St. Lous, MO
10/26/09 – Double Doors in Chicago
10/27/09 – The Mod Club in Toronto
10/28/09 – II Motore in Montreal
10/29/09 – Bowery Ballroom in NYC
10/30/09 – Middle East Upstairs in Cambridge, MA