Album Review: A Place to Bury Strangers' 'Worship'

Photo by Emily Berger

Building music around noise is like playing with fire: you’re in control of it until you aren’t. A Place to Bury Strangers pushes right up against that line on its new album, “Worship” (Dead Oceans).

The New York band’s third LP is a skillful balance between elegant melody and the slashing noise of a shelving collapse in a sheet-metal factory. The trio builds an ominous bassline into a taut, pulsing manifesto on “You Are the One,” spins up bursts of shrieking guitar over a relentless beat on “And I’m Up” and gives glimpses of Oliver Ackermann’s doomy baritone through swaths of blaring white-noise guitar on “Why Can’t I Cry Anymore.”

Ackermann often sounds as though he’s standing in the one place where he’s unlikely to be hit by the shards of debris swirling through the songs, though “Dissolved” is understated enough at the start to be unsettling, as he croons in dreamy tones through a curtain of reverb over distant, ringing guitars that unfolds into an uptempo goth-dance track. He’s in lockstep with a massive, gnashing arrangement on the tuneful title track, and threads his vocal melody through looming spires of sound on “Slide.”

Though it’s often chaotic, even the noisiest parts of “Worship” serve the songs, which is to say that A Place to Bury Strangers remains in control in spite of the heat the band has generated.

— Eric R. Danton

You Are the One mp3

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