CD review: Parts & Labor, Constant Future

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Possessing a unique gift for making layers and layers of distorted synthesizers, air-raid drumming, and grotesquely obese guitars sound remarkably melodious, Friel – along with BJ Warshaw and Joe Wong – have crafted one of the season’s best albums.  Sure, the volume is initially overwhelming, and it’s easy to think that Constant Future could have benefited from a more steady behind the mixing board, but after a few listens it becomes clear that Parts & Labor completely mean to lead listeners well into the red bars of the equalizer.

Subtly buried below the chaotic pipes of tracks like “Echo Chamber” are ridiculously thick bass lines and the kind of layered, pulsating percussion usually reserved for overzealous drummers who’ve just learned how to use their double-bass pedals, and while it can become chaotic at times, the most impressive thing about the entire effort is the Friel’s ability to use his voice to make it surprisingly accessible to even the most casual listeners.

Much like the rest of Future, album highlight – “Hurricane” – features songwriting that utilizes Friel’s unique vocals to create instantly memorable melodies that make it that much easier to be hypnotized by the compositions that buoy them.  “I have brought the wind for you and I have brought he rain,” Friel sings over a billowy guitar part that explodes into a boozy dance anthem, “and I have never asked at all to be repaid.”  He may not seek recompense, but you definitely owe it to yourself to give this a listen. [Out March 8 via Jagajaguwar)


Constant Future hits shelves and online retailers on March 8 via Jagjaguwar.

In the closing moments of “Rest,” Parts & Labor frontman Dan Friel sings, “After all these spinning clocks have come to rest/and done their best to throw us/we’re still hanging on with both our hands,” and in a way, it’s that line that perfectly sums up the feeling their latest LP – Constant Future – leaves a listener after just one spin.

From the gently rolling opening bars of “Fake Names” to the frantic last seconds of  “Neverchanger,” this Brooklyn-based three piece treat ears like some kind of aural trampoline and send the sounds of swirling, pinging synth, big drums, and even bigger vocals bouncing all around your cranial cavity.

While recording sessions for the album produced 40 songs, the band managed to trim it down to 12 that run the gamut from all out, bright, pop (“Pure Annihalation”), assaults on eardrums (“Bright White”), and full blown shout-along anthems (“Skin and Bones”).

About The Author

Ray Roa

Read his 2016 intro letter and disclosures from 2022 and 2021. Ray Roa started freelancing for Creative Loafing Tampa in January 2011 and was hired as music editor in August 2016. He became Editor-In-Chief in August 2019. Past work can be seen at Suburban Apologist, Tampa Bay Times, Consequence of Sound and The...
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