A Place to Bury Strangers, Exploding Heads

A Place to Bury Strangers, Exploding Heads

Nothing ruins a good idea more than poor execution, a point exemplified by “fusion” concepts. The world is full of them: the “Southwest eggroll,” hybrid cars less efficient than cars from the 1980s, countless movie sequels, etc. It takes a determined bit of genius to merge two concepts into a cohesive and unique creation. Brooklyn’s A Place to Bury Strangers attempts to exhibit their particular brand of brilliance in their second album, Exploding Head.

I hate to sound like an old man on the porch, but this is a loud album. From “It’s Nothing” to “I Lived My Life to Stand In the Shadow of Your Heart,” you’re bombarded with an unrelenting sound. It’s as if they’re going to yell at you until you understand that they’re the loudest band in New York, and nothing is going to change that. Loud can be good, but their brand of self-described “sonic annihilation” is just so grueling that you’re left fatigued and in desperate need of a break.

The band’s biggest crime isn’t this unending noise, though, but the lack of creativity when fusing multiple genres together. Imagine My Bloody Valetine’s Loveless on speed, played over any distorted and washed-out industrial rock riff, and you have Exploding Head. To make things worse, vocalist Oliver Ackermann sounds like another homage to Ian Curtis. Even the song titles pay tribute to their influences with names like “Smile When You Smile” and “Ego Death.” What you’re left with is an album that starts out promising but ends up losing your interest due to repetition and homogeny.

For me, there was so little to like about this album mostly because I had such high expectations for could have been. It’s incredibly daring, almost brash, to try to improve cult classics by fusing them to other genres. However, when it comes to Exploding Head, A Place to Bury Strangers might have been better off leaving them alone.

[A Place to Bury Strangers is playing 4/7/10 at Warehouse Live, along with The Big Pink.]
(Mute Records -- 150 5th Ave., 4th Floor, NY. 10011; http://www.mute.com/; A Place to Bury Strangers -- http://www.aplacetoburystrangers.com/)
BUY ME: Amazon

Review by . Review posted Saturday, March 27th, 2010. Filed under Features, Reviews.

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