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 without sounding like something that has been done a million times before – HEALTH on the other hand is one such band that seems to have their foot in the door and know exactly what they want, bringing one of the most refreshing musical journeys I’ve heard in awhile.
Formed in 2005 HEALTH’s career began to gain momentum in 2007 just prior to the bands self-titled debut album when they released a single, “Crimewave”, that was remixed by “Crystal Castles”; this gained the band enough hype before they dropped the self-titled LP. The album soundied largely like a very experimental “Noise Rock” record with a visceral tone, feeling like an untameable animal relying on instinct.
The bands 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 album with a large slab of accessible, mainstream elements to tracks. The first three tracks “In Heat”, “Die Slow” and “Nice Girls” path the way for the bands new direction: driving drums, electronic lathed undertones that pull the rhythm forward and reverb driven guitars that form a sound that sticks in your head. Jake’s vocals amalgamate beauty and dread; a sense of melancholy coming from his tone of voice, making the vocal melodies extremely effective. It’s this style of writing and Jake’s vocal approach that solidifies the albums 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 a little more digestible. “We Are Water” is one of the albums biggest highlights and one that manages to mesh the pulse-pounding energy with the spacey guitars and melody of the new sounds executed here; the last section of the track pays off massively as it moves from its frantic tempo and slides into a slow-motion dreamy other-world. There is little to fault from this 30-minute long LP, and is consistent throughout, the only real weak link on Get Color is “Before Tigers” as it tends to drone on with no real pay-off at the end of it.
That said this is a fantastic album. If you’re looking for something that is a little different check out HEALTH’s self-titled debut. If you’re looking for something that takes the basic foundations of the former sound and makes something a little more structured and melodic then this is definitely worth checking out.