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February 9, 2011

DisappearsGuider (Kranky, 2011)

The second LP in under a year from this Chicago outfit. Their debut, Lux, got a lot of attention last year for its hazy proto-punk ’60s/’70s rock thud, and on this follow-up the band explores more of that sound.

About 20 seconds into this album’s first tune, it sounds like singer/guitarist Brian Case barks out the lyric “down on the street,” which, of course, is the title of a Stooges song that, as it happens, serves as a good point of reference for this band’s rumbling groove. Another point of reference, especially for this record, is the second side of NEU! ’75. The sound of Disappears is characterised not only by prominent influences such as these, however, but also by the way in which they use effects like reverb, echo, and tremolo as integral components of each song, rather than ornament. Combined with their usage of text as a primary visual element, it’s resulted in a recognisable, acclaimed aesthetic for their releases so far.

With just six tracks, Guider is a short LP, and with the final song running the length of the other five combined, it can seem a bit unbalanced initially, but, the individual songs work well as stages of a larger whole. Viewing the record in this manner, the final track, “Revisiting,” becomes the cynosure, expanding the band’s usual approach over nearly sixteen minutes of motorik-driven, hypnotic riffing. It’s a remarkable track, and an excellent finale for an album that, much like its predecessor, albeit more streamlined, sticks to its foundation and develops therein. This band do what they do well, they’ve tuned into a sound and this record shows they know how to work with it.

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