Los Angeles’ HEALTH have spent a decade dividing their creative efforts between gorgeous and intense noise rock records (HEALTH, Get Color) and bizarre yet club-ready remixes of those same albums (Health//Disco, Health::Disco2). For their third LP, Death Magic, it seems the group will finally split the difference and land on a sound that channels both of those muses at once. HEALTH’s brand of noise has always been bizarrely in touch with popular music trends for how odd and dark it was, but the band’s work with UK dark ambient producer The Haxan Cloak and sound engineers Andrew Dawson (Kanye West) and Lars Stalfors (Mars Volta) looks to push that fascination into an even more tangible realm.
The band’s new single, “New Coke” holds a filthy, shattered mirror to the modern party anthem, and starts off as a distorted, moody take on a typical trap beat. But as the short track swells with intensity, eerie contrast is provided by the monotone, almost clinical chant of “Let the guns go off/ let the bombs explode/ let the lights go dark/ life is good.” In more ways than one, “New Coke” feels like less of a noise-rock outing and more like HEALTH’s answer to Crystal Castles or Chelsea Wolfe: A dark and distorted burst that is as challenging as it it is invigorating. But just as soon as HEALTH have you heading to the dance floor, they drop the beat to reveal a single, cinematic synth line, as if to signal that something dire is about to happen. It’s too soon to predict what that catastrophic event might be, but we can be sure that Death Magic will give us front row seats.[from Death Magic, out August 7; Loma Vista]