Review Summary: HEALTH successfully take the right elements from their raw debut LP and create a second album that lets them have the cake and eat it.
A band creating a very distinct sound is a difficult thing. A lot of bands find it hard to get their foundations set in the ground before working their way up; made more difficult still without sounding like something that has been done a million times before. HEALTH on the other hand is one such band to have their foot in the door and know exactly what they want. The band bring one of the most refreshing musical journeys I’ve heard in awhile. Formed in 2005 HEALTH’s career first began to gain momentum in 2007, just prior to the bands self-titled debut album, when they released the single “Crimewave” -- remixed by Crystal Castles; this gained the band a decent amount of buzz before they dropped their first LP. The album sounded like an experimental noise rock record, with a visceral, animalistic tone; an untameable beast relying entirely on instinct.
The band's second full-length album, Go Color
, is one that attempts to draw more people into their web; blending the chaotic, experimental weirdness of the last record, with a large dose of mainstream accessiblity being injected into tracks. The first three tracks “In Heat”, “Die Slow” and “Nice Girls” pave the way for the band's new direction: heavy, driving drums and a saturation in electronic-lathed undertones secure the foundation of the band's sound, while the reverb guitars do their job in forming standout melodies. Jake’s vocals amalgamate beauty and dread, a surge of melancholy coming from his tone of voice results in his vocal melodies being an extremely effective tool. It’s this style of writing, and Jake’s vocal approach, that solidifies the album's cohesion as energetic, yet harrowing.
Get Color isn’t a complete change of sound though, as songs like “Death+” and “Eat Flesh” fire out a lot of the raw energy the self-titled spat at you, it’s just arranged with more thought, broken up a little better and made more digestible. “We Are Water” is one of the album's biggest highlights and one that manages to mesh the pulse-pounding energy of the debut, with the spacey guitars and melody of their new sound executed here; the last section of the track pays off massively as it moves from its frantic tempo to its slow-motion, dreamy other-world soundscape. There is little to fault from this 30-minute long LP; the albums length ensures a concise and consistent effort, that is all meat and no fat. The only real weak link on Get Color is “Before Tigers”, as it tends to drone on with no real payoff at the end of it - but its interesting selection of sounds still manages to hold the listener through it.
This is a fantastic album. If you’re looking for something a little different check out HEALTH’s self-titled debut; if you’re looking for something that takes the basic foundations of the former and makes something more structured and melodic then this is definitely worth checking out.