Exploding Head, the second full-length from A Place To Bury Strangers isn’t so much loud as it is piercing. Sonically, it’s the equivalent of a root canal. There are moments of pain and distrust. But the end result is satisfying; imagine never having the aching pain of a pesky tooth again, or better yet, never having to worry about who the loudest band playing clubs in 2009 is. A Place To Bury Strangers grab that crown with a certain savoir faire on Exploding Head. It beats the term “Shoegaze” to a pulp in a wash of driving percussion and a wall of sound that brings to mind this mental image: it’s as if the Cure and Jimmy Page mated in a sweaty, crowded bathroom.
There are obvious hints of the Cure within Exploding Head, particularly the way this dynamic three piece out of Brooklyn lace each tune with stretching guitar effects. (No doubt thanks to guitarist Oliver Ackermann, a pedal-effects guru who produces pedals for that Irish dude who’s never seen without a beanie) And yet, much like the Cure, A Place To Bury Strangers grace each track with a kind of morose charm that keeps listeners coming back again and again.
“In Your Heart” forces listeners to wrap their head around a mechanical and at times dingy vibe, but much like the rest of Exploding Head, it is the song which soon wraps their muscular yet ample arms around the listener and refuses to let go. Truly, this is one of the great headphones records of the last few years.
Mentioning Jimmy Page with Exploding Head might be considered a bit of a stretch for some. But to hear the pounding, relentless yet sincerely groovy wail of “Keep Slipping Away,” sexually-potent hook and all, reminds us that though Exploding Head is one loud-ass record, A Place To Bury Strangers never once sacrifice their craft just for the sake of cranking it up to 11. Now if only we could find out who’s working on their teeth.
By Joshua Kloke[Rating: 3.5/5]