Review Summary: My Disco fully realise their minimalist ideas on their second full length.
For My Disco
was ultimately a pretty polarising release. With heavily repetitious passages, a sparse presence of vocals and ultimately an entirely different approach to songwriting, Cancer
marked the band's foray into the world of minimalism. While Cancer
inevitably lost My Disco some fans and gained them quite a few new ones, next Paradise
it feels tame and almost obsolete. Certainly on its release, Cancer
felt like a pretty developed effort from a band deciding to adopt a new approach to their music, but Paradise
feels like the fully realised presence of that vision.
My Disco only had about 18 months between Cancer
but its quite clear that they made good use of that time. The now standard My Disco formula of simple but dancey drums, simple, throbbing basslines and guitar used to add colour through dissonant squeals and strange rhythms is still very much intact. The music is, however, even more minimalist than that of Cancer
and in particular sees guitarist Ben Andrews coming up with some extremely interesting and unique tones. "You Came to Me Like a Cancer Lain Dormant Until it Blossomed Like a Rose" makes use of some of the most unique feedback in existence which sounds just as much like a didgeridoo as it does a squealing guitar. Drummer Rohan Rebeiro plays some of his most angular and danceable beats to date while Liam Andrews continues in his dry, almost spoken approach to vocals and manages to make his basslines significantly more minimalist than on Cancer
was recorded with Steve Albini and his influence is very heavily felt to the extent that My Disco are now using metal necks in their guitars (Albini uses aluminium Travis Bean guitars in his band Shellac
). The production is very stripped down with few overdubs and the amount of space between instruments is quite incredible. But what's most impressive about Paradise
is how much My Disco seem to have matured in their songwriting, harnessing their minimalist leanings in a way that Cancer
only dreamed of. "An Even Sun" is the album's 9-minute centrepiece and perhaps the best example. Consisting of a one-note bassline for its entirety and a single vocal line, the guitar of "An Even Sun" manages to colour the sound in such a way that the song remains fascinating for its entirety and it's not until about 7 minutes in (after mountains of feedback and dissonant riffing) that Andrews plays a riff that finally reveals the song's tonal centre.
"An Even Sun" isn't the only stand-out though; long-time live favourite "A Christ Pendant Comfort Her Neck" features some of the most interesting instrumental interplay on the record underneath the coolest vocals of the band's career. "Pair & Pear" is probably the catchiest song on the album and is improved from the live version that the band were kicking around last year with the addition of vocals. "German For Attention" is easily the most technically stunning track on the record, not to mention the most sonically dense and abrasive.
does one sound and it does it to absolute perfection; tight, dissonant minimalist rock almost devoid of warmth or emotion. With this much of an improvement and a deeper realisation of their minimalist ideas, it's hard to tell where My Disco will go with their next record but if at this point they've proved anything, it's that they're full of surprises.