mon 22/07/2024

CD: Disappears - Era | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Disappears - Era

CD: Disappears - Era

Chicago quartet resurrect the spirit of early goth on uncompromising fourth album

Disappears’s 'Era': a new groove

Chicago’s Disappears aren’t playing it easy with their fourth album Era. Their name doesn’t appear on the front cover. Nor does the title. The song titles are only on the disc and can’t be referred to while the album is playing. No internet addresses are given. The band seem to be taking their chosen name literally and leaving the music to do the talking.

Era was preceded into the shops by Kone, a 12-inch EP which centred on a 15-minute track. Although abstract, it was rooted in what the band had previously perfected: a stiff-backed, guitar-driven squall which underpinned singer Brian Case’s declamatory bark of a voice. The fondness for first album by Wire, The Velvet Underground and the pre-punk soundscape of Cleveland, Ohio was still there, yet there was something new: an echoey, dub-influenced texture and a more rubbery approach to rhythm. Era arrives at what Kone was moving towards.

It begins though with the extraordinary “Girl”, Disappears at their most edgy. A brief snatch of electronic noise and some bass guitar are pummelled into submission by a wall of noise over which Case bellows “what are you trying to say?” Amongst the few other words which can be made out are “I’m not your slave.” After that opening blast, Era invites the open spaces of Kone in and lurches into gear, suggesting that very early Bauhaus and first-edition Gang of Four have come to join the festivities. Now that former Sonic Youth drummer Steve Shelley has departed (replaced by Noah Leger), Disappears are settling into a new groove. Still uptight and still dark, their most austere album to date takes a step back to when goth wasn’t yet a cliché and really did mean music which explored what lies hidden in shadows. Era is potent, but it offers no comfort.

Visit Kieron Tyler’s blog

Listen to the title track from Era overleaf


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