As frontman of the progressive post-punk band A Place To Bury Strangers, Oliver Ackermann continues to create a wall of noise brick-by-brick. Now with drummer Sandra Fedowitz and bassist John Fedowitz by his side as part of a refreshed lineup, Ackermann has taken chaos by the reins. Where previous releases have lacked lyrical prowess or melodic power, See Through You expands past the primal urge to be loud, and what can feel like pure fuzz breaks down into something more calculated.
Hypnotic drum patterns act as the core of the album, and the addition of Sandra Fedowitz has benefitted the direction of APTBS’ sound. Echoing vocals are haunting as they describe the heavy feelings of broken hearts and painful longing; electronic elements cut through the record like tension-filled fissures, reverberating with passionate vibrations.
Where the first half charges forward with gut-wrenching guitars, the second half is slower in pace. Their talent of crossing over into shoegaze from heavy post-punk shows the range and control they have. Comparing ‘Dragged in a Hole’ to ‘Broken’ (one the outrageous cousin of the other), one has moments of calm amongst the chaos and the other moments of chaos amongst the calm.
Where See Through You could have thundered through its 13 tracks, A Place To Bury Strangers have resisted the urge to be over-the-top and as massively noisy as they could be. Instead, they have brought together melodic elements that lead into the delicate ending track ‘Love Reaches Out’. There’s a fine balance to producing a wall of noise. See Through You is like an impressionist painting, where you have to stand back to get to the whole picture, to see past the head banging and enjoy the melodic songwriting that is at the root of the record.
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