A Place to Bury Strangers :: Onwards to the Wall

What do we expect from our beloved artists who are so deeply rooted with a singular, albeit explosive, sound? At this point in their career A Place to Bury Strangers are unbeatable at creating the most devastating psychedelic rock out there. I mean, who really wants these guys to transition into a lighter version of themselves? What makes them great is their recklessness, the chaos that ensues on stage and their simple approach to making music; be louder than everyone, but always catchy.

So many reviews can be based solely on the idea that a band’s merit, or quality of output, rests in their creative malleability, which will hopefully result in a “career.” But music’s not always about "progress" - or whatever that even means in this decade. A new album or single can demonstrate an escalation - a memorable and moving song with simple melodies, basic guitar chords and rhythms that we’ve all heard a million times. APTBS re-arrange the basic elements of Noise-Pop by destroying whatever preconceived notion you had towards the genre. Instruments are merely tools used to test the limits and knowledge of what sonic exploration really means, and Onwards to the Wall resembles the Home Depot at times.

Case in point: Oliver Ackerman operates the amazing Death By Audio effect pedals and custom stomp box brand. Most of these pedals sound like shock-and-awe devices detonating entire cities. Onwards to the Wall demonstrates that magnitude and range of power in a single guitar strum or click of a distortion box. On the other hand, it also succeeds by offering songs with cleaner passages, putting vocals first and allowing other instruments and new sounds a chance to lead the platoon into battle. It’s a nice look for a band that has already mastered both the loud-quiet-loud and LOUD-LOUD-LOUD formulas without ditching any of the inventiveness and sheer noise-making freak-outs that defines the group’s persona.

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