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My Disco: Severe *

Track List

>Successive Pleasure
>King Sound
>Our Decade

Album Notes

Australian post-punk minimalists My Disco have inverted their method of attack on their fourth album, Severe. Instead of traveling abroad and recording with the staunchly pro-analog Steve Albini this time out, as they did on their last two albums, they've stayed on their home turf and worked with producer Cornel Wilczek (better known to fans of electronic music as Qua) using digital equipment. This lets the trio retain its intense, stark sound while adding mesmerizing effects, covering everything in a shiny metallic sheen. The band utilizes repetition and space as weapons, balancing evenly paced drumbeats, bass guitar notes, and mantra-like vocals with searing (but never overpowering) sheets of guitar noise. Bassist/vocalist Liam Andrews refrains from raising his voice, and the group never goes for a full-on attack, keeping the tension level constant without ever releasing. They always feel like they're on the prowl, slowly circling and staring you in the face with imposing, sinister eyes. Even though there are only three of them and they're each spaced out a fair distance, you still feel trapped. The album's highlight is the seven-minute "Our Decade," which begins with nearly two minutes of rippling waves of discordant guitar before a pounding drumbeat emerges and icy-calm vocals chant something about decadence; eventually the vocals and guitar effects swell up, but never boil over. The springing guitar effects ricochet off the brooding bassline and jittery drumbeats of closing track "Careless," and the album ends with the phrase "chaos exists." My Disco's music can get quite numbing and patience-trying, but that seems to be entirely the point. They're stone-faced; they're not going to crack. They're just trying to see how much you can handle. ~ Paul Simpson


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