Tag Archives: Dead Oceans

A Place To Bury Strangers – Pinned (2018)

Even though the band still has the line “total sonic annihilation” on their website, “Pinned” is again softer than its predecessor “Transfixion” of 2015.

As before, some tracks of the new album have been made available earlier as singles. These tracks already gave the idea that the band again took a step away from “total sonic annihilation”. The same was true in 2015, but “Transfixion” still contains some descent mayhem. Not so on “Pinned”…

The album opens with the downtempo track “Never Coming Back” that was one of the singles. It is a good song with a nice noisy middle piece. Also “Execution” reminds of older days, a minimalistic song with noisy out-of-tone guitars, but again, on an earlier album this would have been one of the soft songs. Then follows a very soft song with the “wavey” sound that the band has played with before.
The album develops towards slightly noisy tracks that are somewhat “poppy”. Most tracks are nice, but as I previously preferred older material over “Transfixion”, I think I will play “Pinned” even less.

And then comes something weird. The album lasts for only about 35 minutes (12 tracks). This is the album that is available on ‘normal’ cd. There is also a “Brainwash Machine” version which has an extra cd with 8 extra tracks and a running time of about half an hour. These two would have easily fitted on one cd to make an album with a proper length. This double cd version can only be bought as part of a box set which has thrice the price of the cd. The extra tracks are available on digital music sources though…

This cd opens with a drilling machine and guitar noise and the tracks here are more wickedly experimental and noisy. I suppose this cd is the side of the band that is (now) regarded as ‘less suitable for the general public’. It is not that here we only get the “total sonic annihilation” that we were waiting for, but there are some new style-experiments with little coherence, possibly songs that were recorded, but which the label did not find fitting for the album itself. Looking over this cd, in general the tracks are not better than on the album itself, but the more interesting material is to be found here.

A thing that I noted -by the way- is the prominent place of female vocals. Is Lia Braswell a new member or was she pushed ‘forward’ more? In any case, according to Discogs the band has had some line-up changes with four members no longer present. I have no idea if these changes are recent and perhaps explain to more ‘accessible’ (relatively speaking of course) style, but just something I noticed.

So to wrap things up. “Pinned” makes a nice album. Be sure to get the double cd when you liked the band before. Again the band seems to be drifting away from my musical preferences, so my guess is that when I feel like listening to “total sonic annihilation” I will keep going back to older albums.

Links: A Place To Bury Strangers, Dead Oceans

A Place To Bury Strangers * Transfixion (cd 2015)

A little over two years I discovered A Place To Bury Strangers from Brooklyn, NY. They have grown to be my most favourite popband. What I did not know back then is that this band somehow seems not too far from the scene where much of my music comes from. A Place To Bury Strangers is often named in a line with The Lost Rivers, The Soft Moon or The KVB, bands that are scheduled on festivals such as the Wave Gotik Treffen. There are even people drawing lines towards the ‘minimal wave scene’ (under whichever name) calling the musical style “ghost wave” or “witch wave” which includes bands like Agent Side Grinder who do not sound anything near similar in my ears.

In any case, today “Transfixion” was unleashed unto the masses. I am now playing the album through Deezer and have already ordered my physical copy. In April the band is coming to my country. Since I got to know them, they visited my country twice and both times I was abroad. This time I got my tickets the day they were available, so I am not going to miss them again (lest someting unexpected happens of course). The new album does not have the flying start of previous albums. The band is at its best (to me) in their uptempo tracks which until now included the opening tracks of their albums. Not so on “Transfixion”. “Supermaster” makes a nice opener to get in the mood, but the mood is yet relatively soft; calm before the storm so to say. After this we are off with one of the two songs that have been available earlier, the uptempo track “Straight”. Some softer tracks follow and just when I started to wonder if APTBS took a step back in energy the other track that we already knew is up, the great “We’ve Come So Far”. But it gets even better with the great, dirty track “I’m So Clean” and “Fill The Void”.

Like before, the band goes from a rather wavey sound (in the 1980’ies gothic style) to shoegaze to downright noise-rock. Some tracks are slow, some are explosive and great. The band also likes a joke; sometimes the distortion is so heavy that it sounds like they blew up the studio (or my speakers). I am very curious what this is going to sound like live. “Transfixion” is not as good as “Worship”, but is certainly is another great album.

Links: A Place To Bury Strangers, Dead Oceans

A Place To Bury Strangers * Worship (cd 2012)

When I was just a little Roy, I found a tape in my father’s collection with the “Psychocandy” debut album (1985) of The Jesus And Mary Chain. I liked the strange and noisy sound, but my musical tastes drifted elsewhere and I never really followed the band. Recently I am listening more to popmusic using Last.fm and since recently Deezer. I have listened to “shoegaze” a bit, but not that much. Then Last.fm recommended a new release of A Place To Bury Strangers. With a bandname as great as that I decided to find out what it is and APTBS proves to be the ultimate shoegaze band. “Worship” is a magnificent album! In case you are wondering, try to imagine the old style of wave with the screaming guitars, ‘flat vocals’ and drumcomputers or drumcomputer like drumming, then add a little distortion and here and there a bit of tempo and you are pretty close to the sound of shoegaze. APTBS seems to have taken things a step further and their sound is sometimes downright noisy and dirty and especially the uptempo tracks are brilliant. I am now working my way backwords in their large discography and so far it seems that this is going to be one of my favourite popbands.
Links: A Place To Bury Strangers, Dead Oceans