Published on August 16th, 2009 | by greg1
A Place To Bury Strangers : Exploding Head :: Review
The eardrum shattering, speaker obliterating, shoe-gaze revitalizing A Place To Bury Strangers return with the excellent sophomore effort “Exploding Head.” “Exploding Head” is actually the first proper album from A Place To Bury Strangers as their eponymous debut was a compilation of singles and b-sides. Obvious reference points are scattered throughout the record as the band joyfully swipes from My Bloody Valentine, early Ride and The Jesus & Mary Chain throughout while putting their signature sound on each of the ten tracks. While claiming an exclusive sound is something most bands would like to do, A Place To Bury Strangers succeed because lead singer Oliver Ackermann creates his own effects pedals (deathbyaudio.net) adding to that is the solid bass work of Jono Mofo and drumming of Jay Space.
“Exploding Head” is a formidable album that rewards many times with its pop sensibilities, strong songwriting and deft manipulation of sound. There is nothing about this album that is mundane and ordinary. The intense “It Is Nothing” kicks things off with a distorted and muddied vocal and strained guitar chords. The motorik like rhythm of lead single “In Your Heart” follows ratcheting the album up a notch before the ensuing dread of “Lost Feeling” washes over you. “Deadbeat” affects a zombie 60’s go-go beat that would be perfect soundtrack for a lost weekend. The over saturated delay and chorus laced Chinese water torture melody of “Keep Slipping Away” is something to behold for both guitar geeks and non.
A Place To Bury Strangers excels at creating a sinister atmosphere on “Ego Death” and the thrashy “Smile When You Smile.” The dentist drill guitars of “Everything Always Goes Wrong” pierce through your skull as the primordial drumming of Jay Space call upon the rock gods from another time. Title track “Exploding Head” feels like it was heavily influenced by the early days of the Cure and might be the tamest thing on the album. Closer “I Lived My Life To Stand In The Shadow Of Your Heart” offers a morbid finale of over the top guitar theatrics that whet your appetite for the next album. I truly don’t believe there has been an album this noisily cathartic and epic in a long time.
“Exploding Head” is available October 6th on Mute.