A Pleasant Stay - Parts and Labor
I can hear my blogmate Jon now, yeah, but it's no Orthrelm. No, but oh my God, does Parts & Labor shred, pummel, pulverize, obliterate! And man, does aural annihilation feel good. When Stay Afraid was released six months ago, I guess I knew it would meet the same primal noise need Wilderness' S/T did in 2005, but it wasn't the right time and I tossed it in my mental and digital slush pile. Now that autumn's here and the days are shorter and I've been sleeping less and feeling moodier, itchier (read: bitchier), this album is just about right. But for all its spit and scream and orchestrated catharsis, Afraid is, improbably enough, shot through with bright ribbons of radiant tunefulness, melodies that could stand up and stare you straight in the eye unblinking even without the monster drum kit, anthemic riffs, tech fuzz and punk bagpipes (I think just keyboards, but still) propping them up. Husker Du, obviously, deserves a credit in the liner notes, but also punk sounds of a more Westerly nature. Strip out the static and art, and you hear the soft, singalong heart of classic Southern California hardcore.
Buy Stay Afraid (Amazon: US, UK, eMusic, Jagjaguwar)