Exploding Head is a wall of sound, albeit one with a few bricks missing. This isn’t a complaint; in fact it’s something that helps separate them from a lot of other noise rock bands. What I really mean by the holes in the wall is that they aren’t completely impenetrable; they have moments of openness where melodies and a pop sensibility slip through.
The self-proclaimed “Loudest Band in New York” take effects pedal laden guitar, and layer it on top of pinpoint accurate drums, high gain bass and low key vocal lines. This is also the order of how well you hear different instruments in the mix, too. If you are a fan of great singers and heartfelt lyrics, then A Place To Bury Strangers are not the band for you.
A lot of the time, it’s hard to distinguish singer Oliver Ackermann’s voice from the rest of the noise going on in the track. From what I have made out from repeated listens, the melodies are rather generic pop ones, and the lyrics aren’t incredibly inspired either, so don’t worry, you aren’t missing much.
It’s not an easy listen on the noisier tracks, but when that light shines through the cracks in the wall, they can produce some moments of quality. It’s just a pity it seems to be mixed so badly, and those melodic moments are so few and far between.
Smile When You Smile
(Originally reviewed for LUSH Radio:http://lushradioreviews.wordpress.com/2009/10/13/review-a-place-to-bury-strangers-exploding-head/ )