A Place to Bury Strangers – Worship

Make no mistake: this is a commercial record, glossy, sleek and assured; this is the sort of music bands like Editors would make if they were any good, to be frank.

 

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A trendy band and much lauded elsewhere, so we’d normally think there’s not much point us adding our little voice to the mighty tastemakers in Internet land. But actually this is a good record. And playing it has moved us enough to write about it. I’ve been ambivalent about them in the past; I thought their first LP was enjoyable whilst never really being something that could knock Psycho Candy off its perch. How the band must hate that comparison by now - but what on earth do you expect to hear – the mould was broken by that record back in 1985 and it’s been nigh impossible for anyone, the Mary Chain included, to recreate it ever since. And I personally don’t think being known as the loudest band around really helps in making, (or being appreciated as making), good records. But enough. Worship has – to put it bluntly – some really good tunes that suspend any disbelief or cynical assessment.

Make no mistake: this is a commercial record, glossy, sleek and assured; this is the sort of music bands like Editors would make if they were any good, to be frank. At times it has something of Billy Idol about it, especially the metallic, “biker-tastic” rumbles, You Are the One or Mind Control. Dissolved seems to have be indebted to some of British Sea Power’s more cerebral moments but without any pastoral vibe. And the title track is a brilliant song, both plaintive and tough, set over a determined, steady beat and the wall of guitars driving the melody home time and again. And I’m Up and Why I Can’t Cry Anymore have a clear, fluid guitar lines that makes everything very clear and easy to take on board. It’s simple and very, very effective music.

This is a voyeuristic record, it trades in creating moods (or rather a set of downbeat, “urban” or sullen moods); the vocals seem at one remove, commenting on matters, delineating them, setting the observations down just so. There’s no real emoting or pushing of a viewpoint or a personality - even on songs like Fear and Dissolved – tracks, incidentally, which show they are quite able to live without an all–encompassing guitar racket. Things do let rip at times - Revenge is a great squall of noise, and Leaving Tomorrow is suitably nihilistic but these are tracks that balance all the industrial-strength feedback in a manner that’s playful and very poppy.

Enjoyable stuff indeed.