By Jack Diablo, EU Jacksonville
Want to know a good way to get this music reviewer’s attention? Reference a limited split 7-inch series from a semi-obscure post-hardcore band that just so happens to be in his or her collection. How could a boy like me refuse?
Last summer, what has since become one of my favorite bands, Young Widows, put out a series of splits with some of their favorite bands. The first three volumes included an eclectic mix of Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, Pelican and Melt-Banana. The fourth volume featured a mystery artist to be named later. I like to think the purpose of their secrecy was to build some buzz about their chosen group, MY DISCO, and not because they just didn’t know who it was going to be yet.
Either way, Little Joy, MY DISCO’s third full-length and first North American release, fits right in with some of the more powerful and inspiring albums I’ve had the pleasure of writing about. Falling somewhere, if not directly between the aforementioned Young Widows and fellow Australian indie post-punkers Liars, MY DISCO are masters of minimalism and atmosphere who craft expansive soundscapes out of repeated phrases with subtle manipulation. Some songs, such as ‘With Age,’ are more in line with Young Widows aesthetic, but although the two can be just as loud and sludgy, the heavy distortion doesn’t feature as prominently into MY DISCO’s identity. ‘Lil Joy’ reaches for more psychedelic territories and arouses emotion similar to what one might experience within the hypnotic thrall of an Om or Grails song. Much of the vocals on this album are simple mantras that become increasingly powerful with repetition but without succumbing to monotony. Monotonous no, but monotone to a degree that only complements their minimalist tendencies. It’s not hard to envision an audience of captivated fans chanting the chorus to ‘Rivers’- “There are others, others just like me,” and for at least as long as the syncopated drums echo into the crowd, believing those very words.
Recorded by the legendary Steve Albini, the heaviness, simplicity and raw power of MY DISCO are done absolute justice on Little Joy. If this record is any indication of what musicians have planned for 2011, it is going to be a great year. -