Buildings - Melt Cry Sleep (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick


Melt Cry Sleep (2012)

Doubleplusgood Records

If you're looking for something to use as a battering ram then I'd advise you to consider Buildings--not a physical entity, but the Minneapolis-based trio. The members of the band have obviously been hugely influenced by some of the noisier bands that featured on labels like Am Rep and Homestead back in the '80s and '90s, but rather than just rehashing an approach that worked so well back then, they've injected their music with enough of their own stamp to be able to stand alone as a thunderstorm of noise that it contains both nostalgic and contemporary components.

Opening with a riff that wouldn't be out of place on an Off With Their Heads song but which is not indicative of Buildings' music overall, "Rainboat" immediately sets the tone for the whole album: big guitar sound, albeit with the ability to move away from the crushing chords at times into a more jarring sound, drums that take a significant pounding throughout and a brooding bass that throbs away to add a huge amount of depth to the music. Brian Lake's vocals really do bring out memories of Steve Albini, a master of this kind of music, although occasionally I do hear comparisons to Jeff Pezatti, so there really is a big Chicago influence running through this band/release. In fact at times it does sound like a cross between Big Black and Naked Raygun (check out "I Don't Love My Dog Anymore" for a prime example of this), more than coming across like any other of the Am Rep-style bands

Ideally if I'm going to listen to a band that wants to make music that is in your face and has an abrasive edge, it still needs to have a listenable quality to it or else it just comes off as noise. Buildings quite clearly know how to produce a suitable aural assault whilst being able to provide more than just a blistering white noise: there are numerous layers throughout that allow the listener to dig beneath the initial smack in the face, thus making this more than a throwaway piece of work.

Sometimes the terms "math rock" and "post-hardcore" don't really convey what a band is about and personally I find them a bit of a turn off when trying to find out about unknown (to me) bands. I think applying those genre tags to Buildings would be to do a disservice to the band as it has clearly produced a record that plainly rocks and doesn't deserve to be potentially dragged down by vague labels. The other massive plus in play is that the album is of a consistent nature from start to finish, with enough variety in the ten tracks to keep it as fresh on the final track as it is at the beginning.

It's almost two months into 2012 now and this is easily my favorite release of the year so far. Whilst Doubleplusgood are releasing the CD and digital versions of this album, the vinyl is being released through Cash Cow Productions.