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Music Review: A Place To Bury Strangers – Exploding Head

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Noise is about as subjective an adjective as the human race has ever come up with. One might liken a sound to fingernails on a chalkboard. My ears have never been overly sensitive, but I have to concede that some sounds are more aurally pleasing than others.

That being said, please take heed when Oliver Ackermann, lead vocalist and guitarist for A Place To Bury Strangers, states that the band’s goal for its sophomore album Exploding Head "was to create the craziest, most fucked-up recording ever" (press release).

I wonder if goal could be substituted with expectation. I wouldn't confuse A Place To Bury Strangers for the soundtrack to the insane and twisted, but what Ackermann is really describing is the path of the band's first real album. APTBS's 2007 self-titled debut was more of a collection of songs strewn together by the trio of Ackermann, Jonathan "Jono MOFO" Smith (bass), and Jay Space (drums) after years of releasing self-produced CDRs.

A Place To Bury Strangers (photo by Joel Barhamand)The appropriately-titled Exploding Head came about from an improvised demo of "In Your Heart" that was almost spot-on to APTBS's distinct vibe that Ackermann related as "a great midpoint between the more melodic and rocking sides of this band."

This midpoint can often times be a blurry or fuzzy fingering of the band's dual garage/shoegaze feel. The extensive use of reverb can sometimes mask the subtle throwback melodies as in the opening "It Is Nothing" (yeah right) or the unrelenting pounding of "Dead Beat" or the hard-not-to-recall-the-80s stylings of "Keeping Slipping Away."

Loud is probably a fitting label for A Place To Bury Strangers, and fortunately distracting isn't one that has been mentioned at all. Exploding Head surprisingly fits in the background well. Or any background for that matter. Or does it simply latch onto the back of your head to play constantly for that little voice in need of reason or maybe just distraction?

Personally, I just tell the voice to keep quiet and enjoy the ride.

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About Tan The Man

I am a proud dork and loser.