Review: A Place to Bury Strangers – See Through You
National Music Reviews
A Place To Bury Strangers
See Through You
A Place To Bury Strangers = Danielle Ash + Brian Jonestown Massacre
A Place To Bury Strangers (APTBS) has been unleashing sublime, post-punk noise out of New York for almost twenty years now. The current lineup consists of Oliver Ackermann (vocals, guitars, bass, drums), Sandra Fedowitz (drums) and John Fedowitz (bass). APTBS’ stunning full-length release See Through You is a record with a new, three-pronged attack that shakes the blood out of your head.
APTBS albums will always be dark, deep and sometimes a little rotten with rage. Last year, APTBS released an EP, Hologram, that was a relentless, psychedelic scratch and claw at the face. Sandra’s drumming sliced up the track “End Of The Night” like a meat cutter over a simple synth line. Ackermann buried the rest with a sharp guitar and a dump truck of noise. This reset the new lineup and prepared us for See Through You.
APTBS builds mountains of sound out of calculated noise wreckage, and they build that wall early with the opening track “Nice Of You To Be There For Me.” APTBS quickly establishes a blistering and relentless synth structure that consumes all that it touches. This is without a doubt an anxious record, but APTBS reveal a heart somewhere in the quickened pulse. “If someone throws a joke / I don’t start a fight,” Ackermann growls on “Hold On Tight,” “May as well have fun / No matter what.” The song sonically crushes even as it leans slightly toward a party anthem. Another standout is the bluesy “Let’s See Each Other” with its delicious call-out choruses and fuzz-tuned guitars. The track slowly folds into a weird, creepy valentine. See Through You wants to peak out of the darkness and chaos, if only just a little.
In the glut of all the noise a very accessible album emerges. Whether intentional or not, APTBS float their influences throughout See Through You. Already known for being heavily influenced by My Bloody Valentine, others begin to appear as the album plays out. “Anyone But You” is a noise-rock Ramones song complete with down stroked guitars. “My Head Is Bleeding,” has that scuzzy screech and scrape hustle that made Love And Rockets great. And finally, “So Low” brings Sandra in for backing vocals, Pixies/Kim Deal style. The biggest reveal is the album closer “Love Reaches Out,” where APTBS create a modern-day “Blue Monday” that would make New Order proud. It’s a beautiful new-wave blast.
I enjoyed all the ebbs and all the flows of See Through You. I feel it gets even better with repeated listening as all the layers sink in. These three musicians stomp a lot of dirt up and deliver a beautiful mess. A Place To Bury Strangers will have their say in 2022. –Russ Holsten