Noise-pop. Whether it was Sleigh Bells ringing in your ears or the aural onslaught of M.I.A, the genre really took off in the summer of 2010. Now, as Bowlegs blooms out of the cold and into spring, we are in the mood for someone to bring the noise. Step forward Brooklyn based trio Parts & Labor, who return with their new record ‘Constant Future’. So, have you got your earplugs at the ready?
The sheer volume of their layered synthesisers, driving drums and fuzzy guitars is almost overpowering in places and demands to be heard through some headphones directly into the victim’s ear hole. However, it does take a while to really grab a hold of you and throw your cranium around like an audio circle pit. To call ‘Constant Future’ a grower is not entirely dismissive. There is enough here in these 12 tracks to intrigue more than one listen. As the record plays through it grows and grows from the static chatter of opening track ‘Fake Names’, until it then builds and builds to its apocalyptic album closer ‘Neverchanger.’
Well known for their experimental side, Parts & Labor tread the line of pop here more than any other previous effort. From the Celtic-folk feel of ‘Hurricane’, to the bright sounding pop of ‘Pure Annihilation’, it is clear that Dan Friel has a mind for pop sensibility among all of his created chaos. It is unusual for noise-pop to be this melodic, but under the production of Dave Fridmann (MGMT, Flaming Lips) they have created the sound of a controlled frenzy.
Songs such as ‘Rest’, with its drone-rock incessant layering, still manages to sound jubilant, an oxymoron capable only thanks to lead singer Dan Friel’s anthemic vocal delivery, which is akin to an impassioned rallying call to arms. It brings the record an accessible feel, even among the swirling distorted synthesizers and the heavy drumming of Joe Wong.
The finest assault on the ears is the track ‘Bright White’, a killer of a song that follows the three point plan formula: just like the rest of the album only it somehow does it louder. Bowlegs’ only criticism of ‘Constant Future’ is that it does begin to sound all very familiar come the end, but boy is it fun until you reach your limit. RS