Disappears Guider(Kranky) Buy it from Insound
When a band like Disappears so clearly perfects the minimalist sound they were going for, it’s hard to actually criticize them for it. On all accounts, the band has certainly succeeded in doing what they set out to do, and have done so while unabashedly wearing their musical influences on their proverbial sleeve. It’s all here, if you listen close enough—the chug of Lou Reed’s guitar during his Velvet Underground years; the Autobahn repetitive precision of Thomas Dinger’s drumming in Neu!; and even the mounting excitement of Spaceman 3’s drone. In fact, this album is in a lot of ways every minimalistic rock music nerd’s wet dream. It’s just that, in incorporating all the styles of these great past bands, Disappears has in effect created nothing new, but just paean to the greats of yesteryear. Listening to this album is in effect like listening to Paul McCartney’s Wings—technically spot-on, catchy, but in the long run, utterly meaningless.
Not that this diet soda of an album isn’t fun to listen to, because it most certainly is. From the satisfying quiet-loud dynamics of Not Romantic, to the icy riffs of Halo, and on to the ascending Superstition, excitement is suitably maintained. But on the other tracks of the album, I found my attention span waning, and myself getting progressively more bored.
It would make me an incompetent music critic to just slag off the band for aping their influences. Hell, even their main influence, Spaceman 3, is just as guilty of ripping off The Stooges and Suicide. However, unlike the group’s previous album, Lux, this release has little original value in it. It’s almost as if the group has regressed into their influences for their sophomoric effort. It’s a shame, because the band is immensely talented. Disappears is indeed a group worth watching, but they have yet to hit their stride. Perhaps next year.