You can rely on the kindness of A Place to Bury Strangers

No exploding heads in this shot.

No exploding heads in this shot.

As much as I mourn the end of summer, fall has its perks. Just ask any Halloween, football, leaf-color-changing, or hot beverage fan. Or you could just continue to read my entry, as I am a fan of all those things. You might expect that I am also a fan of fall. Maybe I secretly am, but the transition out of summer always feels so abrupt and uncomfortable, much like the first jump into the water during the departed warmer months. One day, when you head out in the morning, you flippantly slip on sandals before you reach your car, which has a minimum of two of its windows cracked open an inch or more. The next day, your routine requires an extra few minutes because you need to tug on your boots and shiver on the icy driver’s seat while waiting for the car’s heat to kick in. And if you’ve left your windows open during a rain attack, you get to add overall pissiness to your seasonal disorientation.

But this morning, I woke to the sound of water getting jostled around in the rain gutters next to my bedroom. It was too dark to get dressed without cracking the blinds open. I drove to work with the windshield wipers rocking up and down the whole way, and swerved past countless piles of wet leaves. I had the new A Place to Bury Strangers album on at a low, ominous volume. And for the first time, the morning didn’t just feel like fall or remind me that summer was over. It was fall. It is fall. You could discuss the weather and climate in relation to the types that preceded it, but they were part of a time that feels so long ago you might as well discuss who your favorite Power Ranger is.

Good thing A Place to Bury Strangers not only has one of my favorite band names of the minute, but also puts out some loud, moody music with which to mope and thrash around. The group’s influences are worn prominently on their sleeves, as lead singer Oliver Ackermann channels Ian Curtis on  “Keep Slipping Away” and “Lost Feeling” sounds almost like a cut track from Power, Corruption, and Lies. Post punk conventions reign supreme on Exploding Head (even the album name sounds like an homage to David Lynch or some other auteur’s dark 1980s imagination), with furious beats that match alternately agitated and trance-like guitars. Plus, the vocals have that echoing effect of being sung deep within a cavern.

But, in spite of no new ground to traverse, A Place to Bury Strangers sounds fresh and impassioned. Maybe it’s just because the last New Order album sounded so toothless compared to their earlier work. It probably speaks to the effects of time as well. Had Exploding Head arrived sometime in the 80s, the band might have gotten lost among the other dark-wave brooders of the era. However, on a gloomy autumn day in the late aughts, it is jarring and emotional in just the right ways.  It just doesn’t pair very well with football.

  • A Place to Bury Strangers ~ Exploding Head ~ Mute

Keep Slipping Away

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