‘And my soul’s been psychedlisized,” read A Place To Bury Strangers frontman Oliver Ackermann’s T-shirt, as he unassumingly sauntered on stage at the Paradise Lounge Tuesday night and began to tamper with his vast array of home-made distortion pedals.
Unbeknownst to the audience, Ackermann had run a wire under the Atlantic Ocean and plugged his amplifier into CERN’s newly christened particle accelerator — surely, this is the only machine capable of generating the awe-inspiring volumes resonating from the auditory onslaught.
The Brooklyn-based band has quickly made a name for itself through intense live shows, coupled with a solid debut record influenced heavily by bands of the shoegaze movement: My Bloody Valentine, Jesus and The Mary Chain and countless others.
What makes A Place To Bury Strangers different, however, is the raw energy they bring to this breathy, psychedelic genre.
The bassist and drummer were no doubt very tight as they grounded the songs in up-tempo punk and new-wave rhythms, but few could take their eyes off of Ackermann.
Channeling Kurt Cobain and Thurston Moore, he slashed and ripped at his guitar strings, twirling and gyrating as if lost in some sort of trance.
One of the most striking images of the night came when he calmed his sandstorm of feedback for just a moment, and simply stared out into the audience, illuminated only intermittently by pulsating strobe lights.
He then doubled his assault on the poor instrument, ripping off its strings, raising it high above his head, and throwing it into his wall of amplifiers.
All of this violent stage presence could make for tense, migraine-inducing squalor, but oddly enough the swirling, encompassing wall of sound possessed a kind of raw beauty.
The sound alone simulated some kind of stellar explosion –‘ the likes of rushing through galaxies or swimming deep under an ocean filled with life.
Critics of the style are quick to dismiss so-called ‘noise rock’ as music for people without any real talent, but bands like this are doing the whole movement a great service by infusing their expressive innovations with emotion and musicality.
A Place To Bury Strangers may tout themselves as ‘New York’s Loudest Band,’ but their thunderously loud show proved that may be an understatement.