Monday, March 24, 2008

Review: Blacklisted - Heavier than Heaven, Lonelier than God

In an effort to avoid riding Pitchfork’s coattails, here is my review of Blacklisted’s new LP, Heavier than Heaven, Lonelier than God.

When the first MP3 from the new record dropped (“I am Weighing me Down”), I flipped out. I knew instantly that the new album would be special. Move forward a few weeks, and I’m receiving messages from my friends that it had leaked. No, this was not the Evan Blanco/Rick Astley leak, but the actual leak, and I loved it upon first listen. Flash forward to Saturday night, and I have a physical copy (record release, hand-numbered /200, no less) in my hands.

The finished product sounds better than the leak, for sure. The mixing problems have been fixed, and the tracks are tagged properly. Blacklisted has subtly changed their sound from record to record, and this is their biggest leap yet. The songs are dynamic. There are massive tempo and style changes in each song. On their official myspace, they claim to be a soul and shoegaze band. This is a bit of an exaggeration, but they have some elements of those genres in place. “Circuit Breaker”, the album’s standout, has a psychedelic/noisy section that really stands out. “Touch Test” has an outro a la My Bloody Valentine. Read: this is not generic hardcore.

George’s vocal delivery is the best it has ever been. He wore a Cat Power shirt at Saturday’s show, and I can tell he is influenced by that sort of soulful music. On “Wish”, the stellar closer, he sneers, “Wish I wasn’t an emotional wreck.” The effect is massive. The lyrics, as usual, are great.

I have no complaints. The album is short; that’s about it. Go out and get the gatefold LP, it looks amazing. For fans of: groovy hardcore and Blacklisted. Is this the best Blacklisted material? Yes. Is this the album of the year so far? It just might be.

No comments: