April 18, 2010
If you have heard the first few Sightings releases,but not the most recent ones,you are now listening to a completely different band altogether.This is a great thing,too.Ever since 2007's glitched-out noisemaker -"Through The Panama", Richard Hoffman, Jonathan Lockie and Mark Morgan have taken the same path of brutal awesomeness right through their 7th studio album-"City Of Straw".They have perfected their craft here,and their craft seems to be musical warfare.This is the perfect soundtrack to your most questionably dark and troubled times.The term "tuneful paranoia" might do this some justice,if it were tuneful.This music is simple,abrupt,and impossible to ignore.Here we go..
City of Straw is immediately chock-full of obvious reference points and influences,and at the same time a totally fresh and unique animal all their own.You might guess that they've been digging up old SPK,Nurse With Wound,and Throbbing Gristle type industrial albums to study their methods.They often approach their basic instruments(guitar,bass,drums,and little electronics)with such confidence and direction,that they're almost transforming them into completely different machines on the spot, ala-T.G.Their clever use of effects pedals and processors really comes through on this recording.Not to say they are in any way hiding behind their ability to make killer feedback and blaring noise,but using them to their advantage,as new tools for very precise orchestration.Anyone can buy a slew of pedals and make something decent,but it's much of respectful when you actually put time and heart into your gadgets.Which it seems they do.
Guitars are alternately tuned and mangled,unexpectedly washed out into waves of shrieking feedback.They blast out treble-y riffs that swiftly melt into thundery low-end rumbles.There are hints of melody and order at times,but it's not long before it starts to fall to pieces again.Brutally syncopated live drums are beaten into submission.Heavy handed,with a hypnotizing and repetitive "tribal feel".It works.They switch over to distorted sampler beats that are similar to Suicide's minimal percussive groove.The transitions are smooth and not so forced,even though FORCED is just about the very definition of this music.They have carried the vocal styles of ..Panama over to this album.Echoed slurs are spit out like venom,as well as their fair share of chorus-drenched,deep melodic rants.The lyrics are spiteful and dark.Tales of perversion,tongue n' cheek political agendas,and downright bizarre subjects.
The Brooklyn trio is at their strongest lineup ever.Their music is constantly evolving into something more terrifying and fresh than the last.City of Straw is not for the weak or faint of heart.It is music for ill-willed,crazy introverts,and will leave an awful taste in the mouths of the tame and well behaved.I suggest you start with Through The Panama to watch them grow into what they have become.A killer of an album.