Brooklyn trio A Place to Bury Strangers are scientists of noise who’ve spent their career probing the unnatural mysteries of distortion. That’s not just a clever metaphor either: Bandleader Oliver Ackermann runs an effects pedal company, and the bulk of the band’s gear is handcrafted, which provides them with a thoroughly unique arsenal for aural assault.
On their third full-length, Worship, APTBS have taken the DIY approach one step further by capturing all the music on their own recording equipment. In their eagerness to show off the sonic possibilities at their disposal, the band members insert a great deal of unwieldy squealing and cathartic white-noise decay at the conclusion of many of the tunes. But there’s more to Worship than just an exquisite racket, as the band pursues a more melodic approach throughout: From the mounting emotional charge of “You Are the One” to the Cure-style simplicity of “Dissolved,” the diversity here improves upon this year’s earlier EP, Onwards to the Wall.
Lyrics have never been the band’s strong suit, so it’s somewhat disconcerting that Ackermann’s vocals are pushed so far up in the mix, making the occasional teen-angst platitudes painfully audible. Still, at a time when many bands are flirting with or even just lazily embracing noise-rock aesthetics, it’s impressive to see APTBS continue to explore the void.
Playlist picks: “You Are the One,” “Revenge,” “Alone”