Review Summary: Post-Punk, now in Technicolor!
I once saw post-punk as something of a monochromatic affair. Nevermind the iconic black-and-white album covers, there was something to the tortured vocals and muted slink of its guitars that conveyed greyscale—a world without color, it seemed to me, was the price to pay for such beautifully bleak dirges.
I believe this no longer. Chalk it up to years of unsuspectingly softening to the genre or this sudden lightning bolt of passion I feel for Preoccupations' latest album, but now I clearly see the flashes of light and color that leave behind post-punk's shadow.
, these flashes of brilliance are often its thunderous choruses and shimmering gazeyness in its intertwined bass and guitar riffs. Matt Flegel's vocals often provide a honeyed baritone to counteract the sleek and shine, making it all the more stunning when he leaps into the wall of sound on moments like "Slowly" 's magnetic chorus. These elements are the closest the album comes to a formula. Each song exists in its own little universe, carving a massive sound through guitar-drenched soundscapes and exacting drumbeats. They flirt with different colors of the rainbow, each pulled by gravitational wells of noise, electronic, gothic, ambient, and other music that my untrained ears don't pick up on. Sometimes a song will never stop. Sometimes a song will play it safe until careening into a massive bridge. Sometimes a song will unexpectedly be exactly what you expect. Who knows!
Preoccupations have reached through the ether to post-punk's classic era and fused its rock sensibilities with modern shades of sound and color. It's appropriately rattled how I see the genre's future, and charts an incredibly auspicious course for the band's career.