HEALTH - Get Colour
I’m quite wary of so called ‘noise’ bands, having found the word ‘noise’ to be one which groovy hipsters confuse with ‘shit’. I blame this suspicion on once finding myself trapped in a small room with Lightning Bolt and, with nowhere to run, I was scarred for life. I therefore approach HEALTH with some trepidation.
Such irrational fears are quickly proven to be unfounded though as Get Colour documents HEALTH’s development of a far more expansive and exciting sound. After continual playback for some hours the album begins to take shape in the mind and follows an evolutionary cycle from tribal, dissonant, pounding noise through to ethereal, quasi-religious soundscapes before arriving at an approximation of recognisable dance music. The history of rock n roll in under 40 minutes, that’s got to be worth something?
Recent single Die Slow is an early highlight and represents a more gothic, sinister take on the Kevin Shields model; think Sisters of Mercy in a tumble drier and you could be onto something. Death+ takes a simple industrial loop and gradually develops this into a mesmerising mantra, continued in the suffocating Before Tigers, which is as close to Gregorian chanting as it is to rock and roll music. This isn’t easy listening but, unless you find Snow Patrol to be particularly challenging, you shouldn’t be dissuaded from checking out this album as it is one of the most genuinely vital and essential albums of the year.
Severin breaks up the album with violent, atonal glee; galloping drums competing with insistent, jagged, brittle guitar lines to virtually drown out more Enya like chanting. From here on in things become almost recognisable as dance music, albeit shrouded in a fug of chaotic noise. Eat Flesh is driven by a thudding 4/4 beat, albeit one with a heart burstingly high bpm, while We Are Water veers unexpectedly close to trance. Final track In Violet serves as a metaphorical chill-out room, allowing the brain to catch up with all that’s been crammed into it over the past half hour.
Get Colour is an invigorating mass of contradictions and unexpected moves; an unfeasibly exciting release which is both unpredictable and impossible to pigeonhole for the mass market. There won’t be many better albums released this year. I still have nightmares about Lightning Bolt but still, mustn’t grumble, as long as you’ve got your HEALTH.