Parts & Labor - Constant Future - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Parts & Labor - Constant Future

by Steve Reynolds Rating:7 Release Date:2011-03-07

Brooklyn three-piece Parts & Labor are back with their new album Constant Future. Mixing noise with a love of melody, it's a blend of sprawling, vigorous energy with interludes of hardcore minimalism.

Parts & Labor have swapped and experimented with different members over the last few years, but primarily it's the groundwork laid by founders Dan Friel and BJ Warshaw that does all the grimy hands-on work here. Their vocals have more than a tinge of alt-country about them and it's the replica voices of Ben Bridwell (Band of Horses) and Jimmy James (My Morning Jacket) which are so distinct, but they repel any smell of alt-country by the layered noisy guitar and belligerent drums.

The album kicks off with the charmingly effervescent 'Fake Noise' with its crunching drums against a tide of chiming guitar and discordant keyboard squalor. 'Outnumbered' is straight ahead indie rock, with less emphasis on noise and a much heavier focus on the melody and the twinned vocals. However, it's a blend of Lightning Bolt noise and Mogwai-esque layered guitars, which reappear splayed across the album's title track 'Constant Future'.

In defence of Parts & Labor, they control their noise beautifully and it's their love of melody which acts as a suitable tourniquet, making them less confrontational than their noise rock counterparts and more accessible to a wider audience. The songs are not long drawn out affairs and this is more than evident in the under two-and-a-half-minutes of 'Pure Annihilation'. With some heavy tub-thumping and soaring gospel-like vocal, it's a bright and uplifting affair. This continues with 'Skin and Bones' where the sinister lyrics interlace beautifully with the guitar - it's a firecracker of a song. It's all torn apart in the final 30 seconds with a relentless sea of feisty guitars and bullet fire drums.

'Echo Chamber' has its roots firmly in hardcore and they continue New York's legacy of noise experiment but with more restraint than wanton abandon. 'Without a Seed' could be alt-country with its mellifluous harmonies and while it's a respite it fits uneasily within the rest of the album. 'Bright White' is more foot-to-the-floor and is representative of what Parts & Labor do best. They close with 'Hurricane' and 'Neverchanger' and it's a blend of controlled guitar aggression and urgent vocals that carry the album through to its closure.

It's a decent album but at times I felt myself longing for more unleashed noise and power. They tour the UK later this year with Teeth of the Sea and maybe we'll see if they offer more wild abandon in the live arena.

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