EP review by James M
After more than two years of silence from the once proclaimed 'loudest band on the planet', New York’s A Place To Bury Strangers finally announced details of a third album to be released this year. Not wanting us to wait too long for our next tinnitus scare, they have generously put out a new five track E.P. entitled ‘Onwards To The Wall’ to keep ear plug manufacturers across the globe in work until then.
Back in 2009, critics could only find one fault in second album ‘Exploding Head’, and that was that it was too similar to their self-titled debut. Well, if you were of that persuasion, then perhaps this EP isn’t for you. But for anybody else, it’s a nice reminder of what potential this three-piece have. Kicking off with ‘I Lost You’, it feels like they never went away. Three and a half minutes of feedback, heavy bass lines and distorted guitars melee perfectly over Oliver Ackermann’s drowned out vocals. However for me at least, that’s where the similarities end. Sure, it wouldn’t take a genius to work out who it is. Yet for a band that once focused so much on the aesthetics of everything noise related, and on a mission in sonic terrorism, (at least in the eyes of the media) somebody forgot the memo that said they know how to handle a melody too.
Title track ‘Onwards To The Wall’ being the stand-out and possibly APTBS softest moment to date. Amidst a repetitive, gentle setting, Ackermann shares tales of heartbreak with a mystery female vocalist. The boy/girl duet really adds to the haunting romance that you feel the band has always tried to pull off. It’s not quite Sonny and Cher but there’s a genuine feeling of emotion to the band's most ethereal piece yet. If this EP was a story then following track, ‘It’ll Be Alright', perhaps tells us that everything didn't work out ok. “It’ll be alright if I ever see your face again” rings out a mournful sounding Ackermann, carried in shrouds of feedback.
It all ends with ‘Drill It Up’, which at just 2:57 in length is a ferocious teaser of what might be to come on the as yet untitled third album, due to be released this summer. There’s nothing incredibly new here, if you were fed up by album two then chances are you’ve already found something else. But for those wanting a middle ground somewhere between 'APTBS' chaos and 'Exploding Head’s finer moments, it seems 2012 might yet be A Place To Bury Strangers' finest year.
Free download: 'So Far Away'
A Place To Bury Strangers' website
Buy the EP
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