Released Aug. 27th on Kranky Records
On the Kone EP earlier this year, Disappears created moody atmospherics by dialing back on the thrusting alt-rock of previous full-length Pre Language. Era continues this minimalist post-punk approach for the most part, but also feels like a culmination of all the sounds they’ve explored on prior LPs. Opener “Girl” is the closest the album comes to the alt-rock riffage of last year’s Pre Language. “Power” has a protopunk vibe, but as if beamed in from space; it relies on measured repetition until its latter third, when a cool jiggly guitar effect comes in.
Then comes the nearly 10 minute “Ultra”, a sprawling work of bleak loops and squeals with an indiscernible vocal highly reminiscent of the krautrock these guys are so influenced by. It dives into robotic squall for a bit in the middle, with echo chamber effects creating a murky futuristic vibe. The title track is like the soundtrack to the album’s cover art: Grey, angular, repetitious, and leading in an unknown direction. “Weird House” lives up to its title, a bit perkier than most of the other numbers and with the guitar riff bouncing off the drums in a way that creates a slinky groove.
The final two numbers are both mini-epics in “Ultra”s vein, “Elite Typical” clocking in at just under 8 minutes while “New House” is just over 6½. The former has a trotting beat that the guitar wanders and spins around, while the latter is metronomic, minimalist, and menacing, with Brian Case droning “Do you remember?” over and over.
Era is less accessible than the quartet’s previous albums, but creates a dark tunnel-like atmosphere that you can sink into if you give it a chance. If you do, you may lose yourself in it and find some interesting sonic explorations.