[sic] Magazine

A Place To Bury Strangers – Hologram EP

All change over at Oliver Ackermann’s Place To Bury Strangers NYC HQ. Suddenly alone, he’s joined here by childhood friend and former Skywave bandmate John Fedowitz on bass, so too Sandra Fedowitz on drums, the pair of Fedowitzs drafted equally from Ceremony (East Coast) – former labelmates over at Killer Pimp, go check out their noisy 2010 LP, Rocket Fire, for their impeccable credentials.

Released on Ackermann’s new imprint Dedstrange, the five-track Hologram EP is the first taste of what the trio can do together and its reassuring familiar, yet adventurous stuff, a few new ideas brought to the table with the line-up modification. The last APTBS album, Pinned, was far from their best and yet it was still miles better than most, so this fresh injection is as welcome as an effective vaccine. Hologram is consequently more in line with the abrasive and under-produced Transfixiation, melodies buried under landslides of pedal static still the key to Ackermann’s sound, the touchstones of MBV and J&MC never far away.

Buzzsaw vocal distortion and trailing echo make Hologram particularly evil sounding, no matter if there are genuine choruses and catchy hooks caught in the avalanche. The standout, “I Might Have”, for example, blends scorching feedback with marauding chord changes not unlike The Hives’ rickety garage anthem “Hate To Say I Told You So”. It’s not quite pop music for the tinnitus crowd, but neither is it akin to, say, Kevin Drumm’s fearsome Sheer Hellish Miasma either.

Stuttering drum machine running alongside the tight motorik of S. Fedowitz’s real kit provides options, “End Of The Night” throwing up waves of trademark guitar fuzz to counteract both – throw in a strobe and a smoke machine and it’d be perfect. Industrial pressure vents later back a mean bass riff during “I Need You”, splashy synths crashing back and forth to conjure the spirit of Joy Division’s laugh-a-minute “Atmosphere”.

And, furthest out there, “Playing The Part” ekes some strangled surf out of the fret, bent strings warping this relatively light, jangle-pop jam into a real oddity, while “In My Hive” digs into some weird guitar angles of its own, antisocial gloom colliding with Goth and metallic noise at high speed, Hologram making art out of what remains attached to the wall. Evolution in action, Hologram sounds like the present, past and future in one composite waveform.

Best track: “I Might Have”

~The Hologram EP is released 16th July 2021 via Dedstrange Records.~