Disappears, Suuns, Bitchin Bajas, Mouth Captain | Garfield Park Conservatory | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader
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Disappears, Suuns, Bitchin Bajas, Mouth Captain 

When: Fri., Feb. 20, 7 p.m. 2015
Price: $23
On their sleek but punishing new album Irreal (Kranky), Chicago quartet Disappears have somehow further reduced their sound from their previous minimalist heights. In some ways the new record is like a meticulous survey of various kinds of British postpunk, stripped down and distilled into the fewest possible gestures, then finished with a Krautrock drive. As front man Brian Case has become more assertive and hectoring—a drugged Mark E. Smith minus the Mancunian accent—the band’s instrumental attack has become more surgical in its precision, each line a slashing blade that never misses its mark. Over the course of the album the band recalls the brittle metallic guitar tone of Gang of Four’s Andy Gill (especially on the opening lick of the title track), the ultra-taut balance of noise and groove achieved by This Heat, the blistering art-rock dub of early Public Image Ltd., and the numb inertia of Joy Division. But though Disappears borrow plenty of ideas, their cold reduction offers something new—it’s like the band magnifies the sense of hopelessness conveyed by their decades-old sources. And while Irreal is a serious bummer, its bad vibes are redeemed by sheer physical force, intense dynamic range, and obsessive attention to the way a single cluster of guitar notes should rip through the air—more like a serrated knife than a power chord. —Peter Margasak

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