A Place To Bury Strangers 'See Through You' Album Review by Greg Walker by Greg Walker



A Place To Bury Strangers

See Through You

Almost twenty years into their career, with their fair share of personnel changes, but an enduring fanbase and high praise as New York City’s “loudest band,” with their post-punk, shoegaze, wall-of-sound music, A Place to Bury Strangers is back with their sixth studio album on Dedstrange Records. If you can’t see them live, and dance your ever-living butts off, the next best thing is to put on those headphones and get assaulted by layers and layers of crunchy melodic guitars and adventurous, body-moving beats.

“Eyes shine from gold,” they open the album with the dancey, angular first song, “Nice of You to Be There For Me.” Mainstay and frontman Oliver Ackerman sounds a bit like Peter Murphy, if you’ve never heard him before, preparing you for an album of post-punk treats, that is satisfyingly reliant on guitars that range from guttural to piercing to spacey. “Open arms are left to bleed with no one,” Ackmerman ends the opener, and introduces us to the major theme of the record: loving and being let down by the people closest to you.

As a band that was picked to open for NIN in years past, they carry on Trent Reznor’s dire and desperate ethos. Like on the second song, “I’m Hurt,” with its punchy programmed drums and thrumming bass line, where Ackerman sings, like Reznor’s song of almost the same title, “Now the pain won’t disappear / The pain won’t go away.” He doesn’t have the same lyrical acumen as Reznor, nor his impressive vocal range, but the song, with its industrial/post-punk feel is haunting and hypnotic, fit to soundtrack the crestfallen moments where all we can say is, “I’m hurt”.

“Let’s see each other / All the way,” they shout in a punk chorus in the third song, and it is an invitation, not just to the “you” Ackerman sings about, but the you of the listener. It’s a fairly ambitious undertaking, at almost an hour and thirteen songs, with sometimes fairly straight forward arrangements decked out with all the bells and whistles, or in this case, screaming guitars and pounding drums. And it’s an invitation that you won’t likely regret, as, in my opinion, the album just gets better as the record goes on, and the second half has my favorite songs on the record.

Like the Pixies-esque, “Anyone But You,” where Ackerman drops the talk singing for a thrilling sing-song melody. “It seems so rare / to find a hand that fits the glove.” The descending and ascending guitar line might be one of the favorite things that I’ve heard in a rock song in a long time.

“I Don’t Know How You Do it” might be my favorite song on the album, with its pop song construction. Though it doesn’t have the same “loud as hell” appeal as many of the other songs, it is a song with a clever chord progression and a melody line that reminds me of one of my favorite bands, The National. I admit, I tend to favor Ackerman’s singing over his more spoken refrains.

That being said, their expertise clearly lies in the wonderful layers of sound in each of their songs. This is music that needs to be seen live to be fully appreciated. But the headphones are the next best thing. After an hour of ear aerobics, you leave the album with the sense that Ackerman has reached catharsis with his grievances and his hopes, and his bandmates have fully scratched the itch to make some noise, beautiful and strange as it is.

Order See Through You by A Place To Bury Strangers HERE