Sightings Ė City of Straw CD Review - www.impulsegamer.com -
SIGHTINGS
City of Straw

 

Review Information

Reviewer: David Murcott
Review Date: Dec 2010

CD Information

Label: Jagjaguwar
Running Time:

7.0

out of 10

 

 

Like many a rock band Sightings is comprised of a drummer, bassist and singer/guitarist, but thatís where any similarities end.  The group operates outside the bounds of traditional musicality without any distinct frame of reference, adrift in their own weird orbit. Rarely are the three instruments readily identifiable; in lieu of Ďnormalí percussion the band favours heavily processed loops and the occasional staccato burst of machine gun rhythm, and twisted, almost incoherent basslines pulse ominously away in the background. 

Itís Mark Morganís guitar sound, however, that ultimately defines the songs and gives them their chaotic impetus. Not since the early days of Einsturzende Neubauten have such godless sonorities been wrung out of the humble six-string. The resultant sonic landscape is not one thatís easily assimilated, nor is this the sort of music that one indulges in a spirit of relaxation or passive enjoyment.  Rather this seventh album from the group, like each of its predecessors, is a challenging, all out engorgement of the senses.  

Sky Above Mud Below brings to mind nothing so much as The Birthday Party being covered by Crystal Castles, and the ironically-named Hush amps up the menace to a beautifully ugly cacophony of Wolf Eyes proportions. Meanwhile the albumís title track is a moody amalgam of echo-chamber vocals and barely-recognisable guitars that alternately buzz, whine and squeal in a furious phalanx of carefully-dosed clatter. The same self-control isnít evident in Saccharine Traps, where the threat of shaking off all restraint is finally realised in a two-minute dirge of unbridled hostility. As if regretting this foray into abandon, however, Morgan quickly replaces the screams with barked snippets of spoken word, hiding his voice behind a wall of buzzsaw guitars on the inscrutable and menacing Weehawken

City of Straw is a bombastic, brilliant and bone-shaking affair.  Pulsating bass-driven verses explode into a squall of car-crash cadences and jagged, spectral stabs of guitar, usually with as much subtlety as a chainsaw hacking into metal railing.  The end product isnít a warm sound by any means, but it is one thatís surprisingly easy to warm to.






 
 



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