Review: A Place to Bury Strangers’ Worship

A Place to Bury Strangers: WorshipA Place to Bury Strangers: Worship (Dead Oceans, 6/26/12)

“You are the One”

A Place to Bury Strangers: “You are the One”

Now on its third full-length album, A Place to Bury Strangers — previously called “the loudest band in New York” — remains fastened to its style, offering a modern take on European noise rock, post-punk, and shoegaze of the 1980s.

With Worship, the band’s core attributes still define it, emphasized by buzz-saw guitars, blistering feedback, Oliver Ackermann’s airy vocals, and a special dichotomy between noise and melody. But these 11 tracks, following the slightly poppier (but equally loud) Onwards to the Wall EP of February, might best capture the inherent tension in that balance.

“You are the One,” the album’s first single, is deceptive, calmly pulsing and swirling, building ever more intense before ending in a hail of inhuman shrieks. “Mind Control” follows with a fully fuzzed bass and wall of feedback, but it quickly morphs with Ackermann’s dark, understated delivery and a double-time hi-hat that mimics a flickering guitar effect.

Of course, it’s quickly back to the hurricane of sound, and the rest of Worship accentuates this contrast. Whenever a moment arises such as the cheery guitar lead on “Dissolved” — as close to The Cure as APTBS gets — it makes sure not to overstay its welcome.

Perhaps it’s because there are so few current “indie” bands that are authentically influenced by The Jesus and Mary Chain, Sonic Youth, My Bloody Valentine, and their ilk, but despite APTBS’ reluctance to stylistically stray, it seldom seems derivative or uninspired. Instead, as again evidenced with Worship, the trio is a familiar and welcome experience — particularly for listeners of a certain age and taste.

Leave a Comment