Every so often an album seems to come out of nowhere and totally blindsides you. This is one of those albums. I initially put this on with little knowledge about it other than the fact it was released by Constellation Records (home of Godspeed You! Black Emperor, A Silver Mt Zion, Fly Pan Am etc.) Within a matter of seconds it seems to reach out of the speakers, grab you by the throat and scream into your face: "Pay the fuck attention bitch, or I'll rip your head off and shit down your throat!" Alright, perhaps it doesn't quite go so far as to threaten defecation upon your inner organs, but it will at the very least it will have ears cocked towards the speakers and people exchanging "what's that?" style glances.
Though only comprising of two people, Gen Heistek (ex- Set Fire to Flames, Pest 5000, Sackville, and The Mile-End Ladies' String Auxiliary) on viola and Eric Craven (ex- Blackout, Shortwave, and Sackville) on drums, they make a big enough sound for a band the size of (a non abysmally wimpy) Polyphonic Spree. Now on their third album, and their first since 2002, Hangedup have just unleashed one of the best, and most unexpected, albums of the year thus far.
The band seems to have effectively devised a two-pronged attack upon the listener. On one hand you have the very forthright noise rock jams and on the other ethereal soundscapes where the heavy drumming is fazed out in favor of Heistek's extremely emotive playing.
"Kling Klang" doesn't so much begin Clatter for Control, as rip it wide open. Craven's thunderous drumming, feverish and aggressive playing from Heistek and murky production all fuse together perfectly to provide the soundtrack to the best marijuana dance party your basement has never seen. Similarly, "Fuck this Place" is very drum-centric to begin with, utilizing a Steve Albini-esque recording style which makes it sound as if the whole thing was recorded underwater. The addition of electronics, undistinguishable vocals and thick feedback will inevitably enamour fans of Noxagt, Lightning Bolt and pretty much anything else on Load Records.
Clattery, relentless, fuck-your-mother-and-anyone-else-in-close proximity-to-your-speakers music is all well and good, but can become a little stagnant after a while. Cue the variety: downbeat, cathartic tracks where the raw stomp is replaced with pensive feelings hanging upon each bow stroke. The dripping melancholy and building motion of songs like "A different kind of Function" are more in keeping with a large part of the Constellation catalog and the work of Godspeed You! Black Emperor in particular, perhaps unsurprising as Efrim Menuck of GY!BE is the producer here.
When it comes down to it, Clatter for Control works because of the seamless way these two different parts are married together. It never stays on one idea for too long; just when your ear drums can't take another kicking there is a lulling stretched out song to ease you back down, and similarly when you think you're all post-rocked out for the evening there is a horrible barrage of drums and nails-on-blackboard scratching awaiting you. Undoubtedly this isn't to everyone's tastes, but then the best things never are.
9.2 / 10
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