[sic] Magazine

A Place To Bury Strangers – Exploding Head

‘He Who Screams Loudest …’

The return of the loudest band in New York™ again succeeds in bringing the noise thanks to a fresh maelstrom of punishing pedal abuse. My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless is still a point of dreamy reference, The Jesus And Mary Chain’s Pyschocandy still a bible. Whilst remaining true to these strong influences, Exploding Head witnesses sufficient development however for APTBS to be seen as more than just the sum of their cherry picking.

There is an art to borrowing, and more art still to balance, and this second, somewhat higher key release than the eponymous Killer Pimp debut, goes a long way to providing it. Where before there was disarray, there is now calculated cacophony and true, while Exploding Head lacks the epic quality of tracks like ‘The Falling Sun’, it compensates with a brand of unique, industrial shoegaze, fast becoming “the APTBS sound”.

Feedback-heavy, deafening no-wave bleeds into dystopian synth pummelling. Oliver Ackermann’s own-brand pedals squall against walls of distortion. The fast, grungy strains of ‘It Is Nothing’ recall Bleach, the effortless drifting riff in ‘In Your Heart’ New Order at their bleakest. The loose bass of ‘Lost Feeling’ evokes the sludgecore ethics of fringe heroes Pissed Jeans and Clockcleaner. The sheer size of the drumming and drone on offer in ‘Ego Death’ should probably come with a government health warning. ‘Everything Always Goes Wrong” is the track The Big Pink had in their head but couldn’t get to paper often enough on their A Brief History Of Love(less).

A couple of competent mid-pacers land the listen occasionally in alternative rock country, but any notion of a mellowing is blown out of the water with the exciting and essential, weapons-grade assault of the closer’s finale. Coming on like Holst’s Mars re-envisaged by uncompromising 80s no-wave namesakes Mars, the loudest band in New York are well on the way to becoming one of its best.