Towers
Bel Air Highrise Plantation


4.0
excellent

Review

by ComeToDaddy USER (22 Reviews)
September 17th, 2014 | 22 replies


Release Date: 07/13/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Another unique expression of Towers’ musical vision

In the modern musical landscape, there is rarely an album that stands out as unique. There are plenty of artists that step outside of the box, yet more often than not, the first words that pop up are ones like ‘quirky’ or ‘varied’; words that imply a sense of adventurousness in the music, but not something we haven’t heard before. Towers are one of the rare bands than can be described as genuinely different, and Full Circle was the beginning. Angular guitar lines and atonal passages were contrasted directly against melodic motifs to form a jarring but wholly refreshing take on metalcore. Moving forward with their swansong Bel Air Highrise Plantation, Towers have constructed an album even further afield. Incorporating more absurd guitar effects, increasing emphasis on their screamo and noise influences while completely warping typical song structure, they have ended their career with a complex and difficult listen, but a rewarding one nonetheless.

Finding words to describe exactly what makes this album so unique is an impossible task. From the abrasive noise rock of the title track, to the grimy discordant riffing of ‘Hollywood Babylon’ and the slow-burning intensity of ‘Pacific Highway Dead End’, Towers take whatever format best expresses their musical vision and wraps it all together in a concise package, playing every style with undeniable prowess. Despite developing a penchant for convoluted genre-hopping intensity throughout the first 5 tracks, the 12 minute closing track (that takes up nearly half of the albums runtime) still manages to fly in the face of expectation. Opting for a relatively linear formula, it starts from nothing but cicada chirps and builds from there, introducing guitar feedback and a simple drum line that builds until the absolutely monumental climax that ends the album.

There is no discernible structure to these songs; there are no catchy hooks, no choruses and almost no discernible lyrics. Each song simply begins, then winds to its conclusion in a completely different manner to the track before it. Though all of these unpredictable elements can often blindside the listener, the album still manages to avoid sounding calculated or mechanical. Each passage feels genuine and important to the albums message, and even being unsure of what exactly that message is, the listener can feel an impact from the music. The musicians play their heart out, with one of the most impressively varied guitar performances in recent memory, an extraordinarily expressive drummer wailing on his kit and complicated bass lines weaving in and out of view. The dual vocals, while not possessing a particularly impressive range, are mixed and altered extremely well and fit the album like a glove. Similarly, Steve Roche’s production is perfect for the raw sound of Towers, and contributes greatly to the album’s sincerity.

Bel Air Highrise Plantation covers an enormous amount of ground in its brief 28 minute runtime. Though consuming a large portion of the album with a single linear song was a questionable decision, the brevity of the album works in its favour, cutting back on most unnecessary content and ensuring that it packs a tight punch. Towers have successfully honed their sensibilities to produce their best album in the final moments together as a band, and this will stand as the culmination of both their career and their undeniably unique musical stylings.



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user ratings (11)
Chart.
4.1
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
ComeToDaddy
September 17th 2014


335 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

On first listen I gave this a 3, by the time I started writing the review it was a 3.5 and by the end it became a 4. Was a grower for sure, really excellent album just like their last. Feedback is welcomed and appreciated

Digging: Manes - Be All End All

SeaAnemone
September 17th 2014


20554 Comments


oh hell yea
this is a top 5 record of the year and sputnik probably doesn't care ~ugh~

Digging: Dirty Beaches - Stateless

YakNips
September 17th 2014


11967 Comments


i care

this is amazing

Digging: Purge. - Sewage

bakkermaarten007
September 17th 2014


3601 Comments


I remember not caring for full circle. Should I give this one a try then?

SeaAnemone
September 17th 2014


20554 Comments


depends on why you didn't like full circle I guess
which is an egregious sin per se tbh

Wizard
September 17th 2014


19523 Comments


Challenge to you, write a neg review!

Digging: Godflesh - A World Lit Only By Fire

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
September 17th 2014


50568 Comments


sweet

JohnnyOnTheSpot
September 17th 2014


1197 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Awesome, pos

Digging: Astral and Shit - Spiritus Vitae

Lethean
September 17th 2014


706 Comments


still need to bump

Digging: DiE (UK) - Vexed

ComeToDaddy
September 17th 2014


335 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Sorry Wiz, I'm way more motivated to write reviews of great underplayed albums. Only one I can think of that I'd bother writing a neg review up for is the new Novembers Doom, not many other albums that disappointed me this year that don't already have a review

This one is pretty different to Full Circle, can't go amiss trying it out

bakkermaarten007
September 17th 2014


3601 Comments


Okay, I will check this out. Pos btw

FigNewtns
September 17th 2014


723 Comments


fuck yes, i thought these cats were never gonna release new material! bummer that this is it though.

that last track is my favorite atm

ComeToDaddy
September 17th 2014


335 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah most of this was actually recorded just after Full Circle, took forever to release it though. Last song is crazy good

FigNewtns
September 17th 2014


723 Comments


do you know if the members of this band are going on to do anything else? iirc some of them were in Elder

ComeToDaddy
September 17th 2014


335 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

No idea. I had a look around after I found out they were releasing this, but it was basically Steve Roche pulling the songs off a shelf and mixing them, no news on the musicians activities

chesse13
September 18th 2014


3796 Comments


Haven't listened cause I didn't find a download but I really need one

Digging: -

GhettoHmbrglr
September 18th 2014


587 Comments


this is rad

StreetlightRock
Emeritus
September 18th 2014


3772 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

So upset that these guys are done. This kicks so much ass.

Digging: The Flaming Lips - With A Little Help From My Fwends

forestwidower
October 11th 2014


5 Comments


Thanks for all the praise and hails. It is awesome to hear this stuff still about our silly band. Just to clarify a few things, we initially tracked this album ourselves in 2010 or 2011 or both in a basement. This would be a few years after Full Circle. We were doing a lot of different stuff at the time but these tracks were heavy tunes we had been sitting on. We tracked this stuff and then pretty much had no idea how to mix it. Some of us were also starting to lose speed as well. The decision was made to stop playing and we never finished mixing the record or even played a last show. We finally handed the tracks off to Steve Roche in 2014 and he was able to work some magic and give us a proper mix.

And yes, we all still play music. It may not be all that metal but it is all very good.

The Cats - http://thecatsusa.bandcamp.com/
Greg, Green (first singer of Towers), myself, and Craig (when he is not in Chicago). Lo-fi rock and roll. New LP out now that is probably due for a Sputnik review.

Window Liquor
Green, Lertch, and Gibbs (first Towers drummer). Best and longest running post-Towers outfit. Not for posers. Newish cassette EP out now that is probably due for a Sputnik review.

Craig moved to Chicago and is in a lot of bands…

Hot Bagels - http://hotbagels.bandcamp.com/
Began as a solo project and has become so much more. Chicago’s new rock and roll heroes.

Pink Eyes - http://pinkeyeschicago.bandcamp.com/

Pink Guys – http://pinkguys.bandcamp.com/releases

Huh – http://huhusa.bandcamp.com/
New solo output.

All have new releases and are probably due for a Sputnik review.

JohnnyOnTheSpot
October 11th 2014


1197 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

thanks so much for those links, I'll get on that shit asap



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