Over their five years of existence, Disappears has continually delved deep into their creative thoughts and stretched not only their limitations but the listeners, their recent abstract and challenging Kone EP a prime example. With Era, the fourth album from the Chicago band, there is not exactly a less adventurous experimentation going on but certainly a stripped down one which has a core seed driving its breath and intent. The seven track album is bred from early 80ʻs post punk, admittedly given the distinct rapaciously dark Disappears touch and a modern voraciousness but openly spawned from a suggested passion within the band for that period and aural bedding. It is a stunning release which has a foot in nostalgia and another in current noise artistry as it takes the senses on a chilling venture into light exhausting realms and emotive provocation.
Sculpting the album through an almost psychotically oppressive merger of dub, psyched fuelled repetition, and carnivorous post punk cold, the quartet of Brian Case, Damon Carruesco, Jonathan van Herik, and making his debut drummer Noah Leger, immediately throw a caustic web over the ear with Girl. Its slow dawning soon coaxed into greater life by the lone bass croon, which itself is soon immersed in a harsh sonic wash of guitar and effected vocals. There is an immediate sense of Public Image Limited to the stark and hoarse glaze which appeals strongly whilst the persistent haze of noise only adds to the concussive temptation, the repetitious squalling of vocals and sound furthering its strength yet again as the climax of the track scorches the air.
The following Power has a clearer sky to its presence, the tempestuous air of its predecessor replaced by a haunted blackened breath veined by a compelling bass narrative and the drum beats. Instantly riveting in this insistent design, the guitars bring an additional expressive hue to the provocative persuasion, their sonic colour pushing a sense of The Cure from around their second and third album to thoughts whilst the steely ice embrace caging it all seems bred from the heart of Joy Division.
Two tracks in and Era has already secured full physical and emotional involvement but an elevation of ardour is soon forced as both Ultra and the title track enslave and appease the now rife appetite further. The first of the pair from the off niggles with a steely stare from the guitars with a rhythmic beckoning which only enhances the thick lure. As the vocals slowly coat the engagement with gelid reserve, the repetitious stance of the track becomes a greater temptress, its minimalistic encroachment bringing a sense of Wire and early Killing Joke into play with the uniqueness of Disappears. Its successor continues in the same teasing persistently nagging way, riffs and hooks on repeat until they seduce down to the instinctive core without ever verging on annoyance though this time they are accompanied by a richer melodic colour dripping delicious discord and wrapped in a polar climate. Carrying a sense of Artery and Gene Love Jezebel to it, the track accentuates the diverse and enriching depths of the release. It may come with a frosty nature but works with resourcefulness on every aspect of the body and mind.
The exceptional Weird House steals top honours with its scintillating stroll of noise pop and pop punk revelry. Holding a swagger arguably missing on the other songs and equipped with a melodic sun that glistens off of the metallic sinews of the drums and compelling bass temptation, the song is a virulent infection on the senses. Again loaded with a singular course for its intent and with vocals that seem to swing with relish simultaneously to the slight wantonness of the song, there is an indefinable familiarity to the scintillating offering though once more you can suggest Wire as a source.
As Elite Typical rolls firmly through the ear with an early Gang Of Four cold scold and invention, and the closing stark expanse of the Joy Division/Colin Newmanesque New House invades every pore with its arctic noir kiss, Disappears ensures that Era is as potent and invasive at its tail as its head. There is a clarity and uncluttered voice to the album and all of its uniquely offered songs which alone sets the album apart from their other releases, but mostly it is the merciless entrancing presence and intensive suggestiveness which leaves no thought and emotion untouched. Rich in the essences of the past but stood rigorously in the present, the Kranky Records released Era is a stunning and exhilarating slice of tender desolation and melancholic joy. A definite album of the year contender too.
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