Review Summary: Onwards to the Fall?
When the New York based noise rock trio introduced themselves to the public with their homonymous debut, the torrentous response of the press / media was immediate. Triggering the critics' immeasurable hunger for newfound adjectives, A Place to Bury Strangers
was usually parted with several words of bombastic enthusiasm, like cranium-crashing and bull-rushing, tagging the band as "New Yorke's loudest". Now, 5 years after that small triumph, a slightly worse second album and a couple of Eps, the nu-gazers return with Onwards To The Wall
, a five-piece Ep that finds the band in less frustration, which seems to inevitably translate as "less inspiration".
Onwards to the Wall
kicks in with "I Lost You", a song that resuscitates the cozy, bass driven, frenetic riffing that made A Place to Bury Strangers
a ferocious, yet captivating listen. The seething guitar frenzy calms down though, and this becomes evident soon enough, as the familiar abrasiveness paves the way for a mature, post-punk approach in songs like title the track, where the quick paced strumming is replaced with downhearted murmuring melodies. This transition marks a mild downfall, as "Nothing Will Surprise Me" is pretty much a boring track, which several distorted leads can't save, with "Drill it Up" being completely uninteresting and devoid of that seducing fuzz or beat which the Ep promises by its beginning. "So Far Away" though, catches a murky groove which alongside Ackermann's gothy delivery feels wispy and catchy.
Onwards To The Wall
neither marks A Place to Bury Strangers' degradation nor finds them evolving their sound. Having lost a load of the stomping power that characterized their previous releases, the band seems to slowly settle in the safer, post-punk environments. And while it is not clear that they have settled for such a direction, it is improbable that their visceral outcries will stop echoing in a future that musically seems to delve deeper and deeper in the noisy territories.