Disappears - Irreal

by Rob Taylor Rating:7 Release Date:2015-01-20

Their debut album, Lux, was one of 2010’s best, but there’s an ever widening gulf of maturity between that and Disappears’ fourth album, Irreal. Listening to Irreal after Lux is like being transported from a molten pit of dark punk-rock into the relative cold storage of experimental art-rock. Of course, art-rock has many guises, and Disappears remain within the parameters of post-industrial rock, in thrall to bands like The Fall, Throbbing Gristle, Joy Division, and Six by Seven, while flirting with the punk narcissism of The Scientists and Mission of Burma.

There’s a momentum shift with Irreal. Whereas Lux and Pre-Language’s punk-rock muscularity was thrilling on a physical level, Irreal is cognitive dissonance; dystopian, characterised by dark themes, evocative of personal distress. Irreal is dark mood-piece, a sporadically impressive dark mood-piece, but one that is more effect than affective, unless you’re easily transported into morbid disposition.

Listening to Irreal is akin to micro-sleeping on a long interstate stretch, midway between desert and plain. At some point, you’re awoken from a momentary state of abstraction, but you’re not sure how long you’ve been there, and you’re more startled by your loss of consciousness than what caused it. The landscape never really changed. With Irreal, the emotional landscape never really changes.

To be absolutely clear though, Disappears, with the galvanising drumming of Steve Shelley, nerve-quivering atonalism of the guitars, weapons-grade noise, and chilling narrative, makes for some intriguing listening. On tracks 'Irreal' and 'Navigating the Void', Disappears are even transcendent, drawing blood from their stone hearts.

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