In the past A Place To Bury Strangers have taken us to some pretty dark places. With a name like that you wouldn’t expect any less. But on their latest album, Worship (due June 26th), they push even those boundaries further into the wilderness, constructing towering, shadowy edifices from the pounding bass and shuddering guitar distortion that have become their trademarks. It’s without a doubt their most accomplished album to date, and the closest they’ve come to perfecting their own take on the noise-pop genre. We should worship indeed.
If the noise-pop label has already made your ears start ringing, however, then fear not. Worship also shows A Place To Bury Strangers’ mastery over the second element of that title, as their pop tunes shine darkly through from beneath the layered onslaught. Admittedly, the pop in question owes more to the Sisters Of Mercy and The Cure than Britney Spears, but that’s never a bad thing. The twisted gothic roots than underpin Worship give a unique twist to APTBS’s sound, while the other elements at work – shoegaze, the indie rock of BRMC – turn it into a true mosaic of musical styles. That it all flits together so seamlessly is a credit to APTBS’s new-found maturity, and their development as a band. Say hello to a new genre: noise-goth-pop-shoegaze-indie-rock.
By now Worship probably sounds like an unholy mess, but A Place To Bury Strangers are too savvy to bury these songs under heavy production. From ‘Alone’ to title track ‘Worship’, the sound is securely focused on the live trinity of Ackermann’s guitars, Lunadon’s throbbing bass, and Space’s relentless rhythms. And yes, it still plays pretty loud. Sometimes that noise-pop label just refuses to go away.
For those who have been following APTBS’s ascendancy through the rock hierarchy, Worship is yet another jewel in their noise-pop crown. For those who are just discovering them, however, it’s a dark, pounding attack on mediocrity, and the feather-light strumming of nu-folk, that demands a second listen. This is one band that knows where the bodies are hidden.
Worship is released in the US on June 26, 2012, on Dead Oceans. They are currently on tour with This Will Destroy You; you can find tour details here. Check out the video for ‘You Are The One’ below: