Joy Division, Can, Spacemen 3
Formed in 2008 out of Chicago, Disappears have released four albums. Their style is punk-laced krautrock in vein of bands like Joy Division and Can. The first two albums, Lux and Guider, tend to lean toward a raw punkish vibe, with very balanced rhythms. On Pre Language, their third album, there is a sense of slowing things down a bit, letting the music breathe and having the bass play a broader role. And not to forget Kone, this EP goes deeper into this expanded style. Bringing us to their latest release Era, where they seem to be branching out into more uncharted territories.
The opening track "Girl" starts with a simple bass line, than 27 seconds in it just bursts out into a heavy spacious, sonic outbreak, reminiscent of Hawkwinds’ "Brainstorm". The vocals are incredible, as singer Brian Case just lets loose on a shouting echoed vocal spree. This takes us right into "Power" with no break, as this new sounding, ominous bass is leading the way. There’s a medium-paced deep groove on this song and the vocals are toned down and are possessed with more echoed effects. "Ultra" could be the standout track on the album, it’s a 9:34 minute mind trip, with elements of industrial and progressive sounds. The vocals are monotone yet again, except we hear this high-pitched deranged vocalist chiming in once in a while, very nice touch.
The title track is a bit different, as it takes us away from the spacious sounds being offered here, it actually sounds like their older material. "Weird House" has more of an 80’s Krautrock vibe; as the vocals here sound like 80’s artist Falco (Rock Me Amadeus, anyone?). The song is a bit out of context for this album, yet the more we listened to it, it grew on us. "Elite Typical", is a combination of the upbeat arrangements and dark sullen sounds found throughout the album. Era ends with "New House", an atmospheric, sparse song; it’s quiet and Case’s deep, echoed vocals are the main attraction.
Era will appeal mainly to fans of the Kruatrock, shoegaze genres. Will they continue to evolve toward a more spacious vibe or bring back the old punkish style? Only time will tell, but they certainly left the door open to explore.
Standout Tracks: Girl, Ultra