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Place to Bury Strangers

4.5 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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A Place to Bury Strangers
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Audio CD, November 7, 2007
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Editorial Reviews

From the opening blast of overdriven guitars and hyperkinetic drums it's apparent A Place to Bury Strangers, self-described "loudest band in New York," want to pummel you into submission with their unique take on white noise-derived guitar splendor, but then a hypnotic single-string riff takes over to briefly deliver a respite from the assault, recalling the classic era of shoegaze. The swirling atmosphere of guitar feedback and reverb-drenched vocals immediately bring to mind the most obvious comparison: vintage Jesus and Mary Chain. And while the Mary Chain circa Psychocandy evoked the Beach Boys on bad acid or the the Shirelles gigging poolside at the Manson family compound, A Place to Bury Strangers also evoke a host of noisy early-'90s British bands like My Bloody Valentine, Swervedriver, Ride, Chapterhouse, Pale Saints, and the Catherine Wheel without sounding exactly like any of them. These bands knew how to cloak their essentially straightforward and anthemic rock songs in layers upon layers of guitar effects to lend an air of psychedelia and psychosis to what without that noisy dressing would strip down to candy-coated pop confections. And what A Place to Bury Strangers indeed do is write pop songs, with simple, traditional arrangements, primarily in slightly menacing minor keys, and saturated with their own unique brand of sonic mayhem. This is facilitated by the fact that their guitarist/singer designs his own effects pedals at his day job, allowing for a trademark-able and wide variety of signature bombastic sounds (he also does custom work for illustrious members of other similarly minded space rockers). Many songs, like the obvious single "To Fix the Gash in Your Head," feature a pile-driving drum machine enhancement which adds to the multiple layers and recalls a time when dark dream pop (Curve, Slowdive, the Telescopes) and dancefloor-friendly goth rock (Bauhaus, Sisters of Mercy, early New Order) were club mainstays. And aside from the lone doom-laden ballad "The Falling Sun," these songs are actually danceable. Or perhaps moshable, at the proper volume. The majority of the album keeps up the frenetic onslaught with which it opens, and even amongst the caustic thrash and thick slabs of sonic detritus there is an exhilaration, a catharsis, a beauty in the cacophony, and the listener is happily buried in the ear-splitting bliss. Many albums' liner notes suggest the listener should "PLAY THIS LOUD", but in this case it's never been more essential. ~ Brian Way, Rovi
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 7, 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Killer Pimp
  • ASIN: B000V6KAGM
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #61,232 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By David M. Madden on April 3, 2008
Format: Audio CD
To all the babies who pine for the Jesus & Mary Chain and My Bloody Valentine to reunite, I have one thing to say: move on. How can you whine when terrific artists such as Autolux, Liars and Voyager One exist? Now A Place to Bury Strangers, one of the purer, more nostalgic shoegaze outfits, competently picks up the discarded fuzzy, spaced-out, heavy pieces shattered by your heroes. The band cover its already gritty tinny-to-shrieking guitars, picked bass, post-punk-rhythm-spewing drum machines and reverb-soaked vocals with even more grit, volume (!) and otherwise raw production. The harmonies and solos are frugal yet meaningful, and the lyrics mysterious and hard to hear: in other words, it's the ultimate homage to the aforementioned legends. Unoriginality is rarely a pleasant compliment, but only because it never sounded this perfect!
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Great post-punk sound from a modern band. Very reminiscent of Jesus & Mary Chain, Flesh For Lulu, and especially Joy Division. Some songs even sound more like New Order just after Ian Curtis' death, where their sound was still very dark, but starting to get a bit more electronic and up tempo. Even though very gothic-like, PTBS keeps their sound up to date both lyrically and musically. Good listen from start to finish - great purchase for fans of the sound of the more obscure side of early 80's alternative rock.
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Format: Audio CD
This band has everything. Well-written tunes that are, at the same time, a perfect mix of noisy brutality and atmospheric catchiness.

As other reviewers, blogs, and hype-sters have penned: this band is a perfectly assembled mix of The Jesus & Mary Chain and New Order. Of course, there are other influences at work: My Bloody Valentine (and other shoegaze bands) and Nine Inch Nails (and other industrial bands).

It is great that this band has been opening for the aforementioned industrial band: they are a great mix of many styles that are not for weak, Juno/Garden State-ears. Despite the facts that the folks at Pitchfork hype them up, they are not the Shins or the Hold Steady (bands that I enjoy in their own light). This is loud, abrasive, and negative music.

That said, if you like JAMC, the shoegaze bands, or other various industrial type bands, you will love them. Great song-writing, melodies, and lyrics will hook you immediately like a largemouth bass. Sweet.
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Format: Audio CD
"I'll just wait until you turn around / kick your face in!" That lyric from this band's visceral track "To Fix the Gash in Your Head" pretty much sums up the sonic intentions of A Place To Bury Strangers. On their debut LP, they deliver ten sharp kicks to the cranium in static-laden doses of ear-shattering distortion, pulsing drum machine beats, and reverb-saturated baritone vocals. While they are certainly indebted to the shoegazers of yore (My Bloody Valentine, The Jesus & Mary Chain, Catherine Wheel), their treble-soaked clatter and ominous, sometimes downright malevolent lyrics are equally informed by the goth-dance of New Order and Joy Division and the mechanized doom of late '80s industrial. Still, I've never heard an indie rock band indulge in the shrill high-end extremes of guitar hiss quite as liberally as these guys. Upon the first listen, it almost seems too much, as if they forgot to smooth out those nasty squealing overtones before they released this thing. But it doesn't take long to realize that these brittle, unnerving sonic qualities are the defining characteristics that give these songs their power and beauty. But hey - let's not over-analyze it any further. Let's just crank it up and forget our ear plugs!
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Format: Audio CD
in late '07, i was binging on anarcho punk and neo-folk and listening to my brainwashed video casts. the video for "i know i'll see you" pops up, and it becomes one of those moments where i just stop in my tracks and ask "what is this?" because what i'm hearing is /incredible/. i'm been accused of having 'narrow taste' when it comes to music and i completely agree; i'm extremely picky about what i listen to, so to be captivated by a band with a sound that is quite different from what i ordinarily listen to is a rare exception. i'll say outright i'm not a big fan of shoegaze- i think most of its boring with the exception of the noisy guitars; aptbs is more than just shoegaze. yes, they mutter their lyrics and the guitars are noisy, but they're noisier (if you could imagine) than any shoegaze i've encountered and their riffs are distinct and interesting rather than mindless, the drum machine is a neat touch that pulls the band into the 21st century and lets not forget the basslines which has this huge 80's feel (well the whole band is pretty reminiscent of the 80's)- a touch of surf rock and punk is also detected, but in whole aptbs is their own entity.
since, a place to bury strangers has become one of my favorite bands and this album is recommended to just about anyone who listens to a substantial amount of 80's music, or just anyone who likes good music. the s/t is a good testament to what they offer live (with the exception of the strobelights which cannot currently be captured on the cd) and has me eager for their next release. :) buy this album, see them live- what do you have to lose?
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