Over the winter months of late 2012 and early 2013, Chicago, IL-based band Disappears were holed up in Electrical Audio Studio writing and recording the material that wound up becoming both their impressive Kone EP, which was released earlier this year, and fourth full-length effort Era, which was released earlier this week. Although they had to face continuing on without one of their members, Steve Shelley, who had left the band before the sessions for Kone EP and Era, both efforts have firmly cemented the band’s reputation for a sound that’s uncompromisingly complex and yet intensely visceral. And while both albums are presumably informed by the same influences and experiences, I can’t think of many albums that sound and feel paradoxically similar and entirely different – simultaneously. Whereas Kone is atmospheric and sounds as though the band is barely holding on a brewing, tempestuous fury, Era feels like the interior monologue of the Underground Man in Notes from the Underground or of Raskolnikov in Crime and Punishment – vacillating rapidly between anxious worry, anxious, desperate obsession, self-loathing, envy and unadulterated rage directed both at oneself and at the outside world. Disappears latest effort is a deeply claustrophobic glimpse into the darkest, most unsettled parts of the human psyche and the human soul.
Sonically, the material manages to create this by being both angular and incredibly dense. Noah Leger’s drumming this time employs the use of short, explosive (and at times seemingly discordant) bursts meant to keep both time, emphasize certain lyrical phrases – it’s deceptively simple and yet very complex because Leger has to know where Case and his other band members are going at all times. Guitars are occasionally played through wah wah pedal and other pedals but are played with angular and muscular attack – sometimes they’re kind of sludgy as on the lead single “Power” but other times they chime and create a moody atmosphere.
The official video employs the use of repetitive geometric shapes and line drawings to a hypnotic, mesmerizing effect. It creates a very odd visual that works for the video.