Despite the fact they had gone through a few lineup changes, the Chicago, IL-based post-punk act Disappears since their formation in 2008 received attention for crafting music that thematically explored how difficult it can be to relate to others, how we seek out meaning and attempt to make sense of our surroundings despite the fact that relationships fall part, how patterns grow into habits and how our world can shift so rapidly that it’s unsetting and completely unrecognizable. And as a result, their sound generally evoked and conveyed our contemporary condition — the creeping, anxious dread of a venal and vicious world that possesses its own lunatic logic.
Now, as you may recall I wrote about the band quite a bit back in 2013 as they released two similar and yet very different efforts — the atmospheric and tempestuous Kone EP and the tense, raging Era, an album that felt like the interior monologues of Underground Man in Notes from the Underground or of Raskolnikov in Crime and Punishment as the album featured narrators, who rapidly vacillated between anxiousness, dangerously unhinged obsession, self-loathing, envy and undulated rage directed both at oneself and at everyone and everything, capturing the dark and frightening recesses of wounded psyche — and a furious roar into the indifferent void.
Early last year, Damon Carruesco (bass) left the band, and the remaining members of Disappears, founding member Brian Case (vocals, guitar) along with Noah Leger (drums) and Jonathan van Herirk (guitar) initially decided to put the project on hold; but ultimately, they decide to carry on, boldly pushing their sound and aesthetic towards new directions with their newest musical collaboration FACS. Musically, Case, Leger and van Herik head in a similar direction as their previous collaboration together but their approach towards the stark, downright menacing post-punk goes finds them taking up much more abstract, rhythms.
“Skylarking,” the first single off the new project’s forthcoming full-length debut Negative Houses features Leger’s tribal and motorik-like drumming at the forefront of the song, with van Herik alternating between slashing and dissonant ambience and forcefully percussive guitar. While Case retains vocal duties, he switches from guitar to playing bass, with an economical yet equally forceful throb — but the major difference between projects is that while retaining the tense and menacing vibes of their preceding project, FACS leans towards a minimalist and downright creepier take. Negative Houses’ second and latest single “Primary” continues on a similar creepy and minimalist vibe, as it brief yet explosive bursts of discordant guitar, an economic and throbbing bass line and a shit ton of cymbal-led percussion before ending in a wild burst of noisy feedback. In some way, both tracks will further the individual members reputations for crafting music that captures the anxious and creeping dread of a world gone absolutely mad — and for no apparent reason.
Produced by Alexander Stewart and Jordan Wong, the recently released hand drawn animated video for “Primary” features geometric figures in shades of black and gray flashing across the screen in a kaleidoscopic, almost trance-like fashion.