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A Place To Bury Strangers delivered their fourth album ‘Transfixiation’ this week via Dead Oceans. It was conceived following several years of non-stop touring, with the mindset that it would be less controlled, and more unpredictable than their previous material. After a month of recording at (the now closed) Death By Audio, singer/guitarist Oliver Ackermann acknowledged that, “It got to be too much, where we – or at least I – almost had a meltdown or something. I felt like we had to stop, and I wasn’t even sure if the album was going to get finished or if we were going to be friends again.”

Several months later the New York trio reconvened with new material, and a fresh perspective on previous sessions. From an outsiders view, it seemed like A Place To Bury Strangers needed to recharge and get back to the fun of rock n’ roll (without worrying about the details), ‘Transfixiation’ is the result. It’s tinnitus-inducing, noise rock mayhem that’s best suited for the stage but here it is, captured on hard disc (or wax). I’m not sure this medium has ever done APTBS any favors because their delivery is just as vital as the songs themselves. Perhaps more so. This works against ‘Transfixiation’ from the start because it’s loaded with attitude, not hits.

It’s a rhythmic, textured affair with drummer Robi Gonzalez locking in with bassist Dion Lunadon. The pair complement Oliver’s trademark monotone vocals and stomp box wizardry. Often the bass line is the most melodic instrument, ‘Straight’ is one example. The single ‘We’ve Come So Far’ is another obvious highlight, the inclusion of a backing female vocalist in the chorus provides contrast. A contrast that is lacking on some of the album cuts. ‘Transfixiation’ is a feat of sonic exploration, style and spectacle but it doesn’t have the song writing weight to throw a knockout punch. In lieu of their stage presence, the album just needs a few more “songs”. In truth, I don’t think their core fan base will be bothered, it’s an exciting listen and I expect APTBS will be back, baying for blood and pissing off parents in no time!

Visit A Place To Bury Strangers @ Dead Oceans @ Facebook.

A Place To Bury Strangers - 'Transfixiation'
SONGWRITING
SOUND & PRODUCTION
REVERB RATING
PRO'S
  • Huge sounds and production
  • APTBS take risks on experimentation
CON'S
  • Lacks songwriting punch / hooks
3.0Overall Score
Reader Rating: (7 Votes)

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