Like a sonic boom out of leftfield, Parts and Labor can be felt all the way down to the marrow of the listener’s very bones. Take a little bit of Ministry, add a pinch of Husker Du and a touch of Sunny Day Real Estate and a whole lot of chugging noise and you’ve got their latest, Stay Afraid—one album that will kick you so hard in the ass that you won’t be able to sit down for a week. While Christopher Weingarten’s drums rumble and grumble like tectonic plates on a seismic shift at the earth’s core, it would probably be wise not to play this album around someone who wears a hearing aid unless you really don’t like that particular person.
From the opener “A Great Divide,” Dan Friel’s guitar may seem half buried but it somehow manages to reverberate all the way through the listeners’ ear canal long after the song comes to a close. A broad palate of analog blips and bleeps are scattered about while vocalist/bassist BJ Warshaw’s fuliginous vocals retain a skate punk guile. And by saying skate punk, I mean the good stuff that you used to swipe from your older brother’s tape deck, not the garbage they’re blasting in a suburban mall. Numbers such as “A Pleasant Stay” fly off the handle with an apocalyptic surfer vibe, peppered with some quasi-flamenco guitar, while the title track contains a lilting, tweaking resonance which flutters around in your head like an absinthe fairy, Warshaw screaming like he is trapped inside the bottom of a deep well.
The bombastic synergy that these three guys exhibit is exceptional and puts the “power” in the term “power trio.” Parts and Labor are paving a new road in music for which only they have they have the asphalt for. With zig-zagging rhythms, math rock tempos and a drilling industrial resonance Stay Afraid is most assuredly a contender for one of the best and most mind-blowing (maybe even literally) albums of the year. It’s amazing how the melodies can merge with each other as well as stay afloat amidst so much audible bedlam. So they say, every person is only as young as he or she feels, but if Parts and Labor is too loud for you, then you’re just too damn old.
The Mars Volta – Tremulant
Space Needle – Voyager
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