See Through You by A Place To Bury Strangers

Release date: February 4, 2022
Label: Dedstrange Records

In my journey toward loving A Place to Bury Strangers’ sixth album, See Through You, I was sucked in by knowing that Oliver Ackermann had recruited his old Skywave comrade, John Fedowitz (bass), and John’s wife Sandy (drums). These two new musical additions bring a lot to the table, as they also helm the excellent Ceremony East Coast. I have often found APTBS’s past work to be too abrasive, and with the release of the Holograms EP, I was delighted by how the addition of new blood had tempered Oliver’s usual onslaught. Before I dive into this great new album, a little background on the talented Ackermann is in order. He is the founder of Death By Audio. Oliver creates signal-scrambling stomp boxes and instrument effects. He also founded the Dedstrange label, on which the band’s EP was the first release.

The noise has been dialled back and vocals have been brought forward. Witness the opening psych stomper ‘Nice of You to Be There for Me’, with fucked up off kilter guitars and tribal beats from Sandy, not to mention the steady thrum of John’s bass. ‘I’m Hurt’ has a cool drum and bass thing going, bubbling under Oliver’s voice. I am slightly reminded of JAMC as this percolates onward. Cool shit! ‘Let’s See Each Other’ could be a hit left of the dial, and I like how immediate this mix is. ‘So Low’ is classic sonic sludge, yet the vocals are not buried. Sounds like Oliver and John singing together, unless I miss my guess (more please!). This one ranks among the best songs here. ‘Dragged In a Hole’ is thick, impenetrable sonic goo, with appropriately hazy vocals. It definitely hearkens back to their past work.

 

‘Ringing Bells’ could easily dovetail with Ceremony’s music, so I wonder if John is singing here. It sounds like him, but who knows? It has some cool, amped up bass work and mind-bending guitar patterns from Oliver. ‘I Disappear (When You’re Near)’ has an off kilter bridge with a warped melody, and is a slow creeper, as it will steal your attention all too soon. ‘Anyone But You’ has loopy, punked up energy, and is almost upbeat with some skittering guitars and a huge hook at its heart. ‘My Head Is Bleeding’ is unlike anything else here, and it creeps me out a bit. Vocals are either double-tracked or Oliver is joined by John here. I wish I could ask them, but you have my best guess. ‘Broken’ is another top tune, and I really dig the bass and guitar work. ‘Hold On Tight’ has my vote as the best song here. Listen to how fast these guys are playing. The bass is thrumming like a swarm of bees, and Oliver’s guitar is pushing the limit. The melody is ace, and you may find yourself singing along. I also hear a strong punk influence here, and I wish they would mainline more of it if songs like this are the result. Very cool! ‘I Don’t Know How You Do It’ is downtempo fuzz pop, and it’s a good vehicle for Sandy’s drumming and singing! The final song ‘Love Reaches Out’ starts up like a metronome and reminds me a bit of New Order.

In summary, this incendiary album will liven up your playlist and should not be missed by lovers of shoegaze and noise pop.

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