Health, Pictureplane | Lincoln Hall | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader

Health, Pictureplane Early Warnings (Music) Recommended Soundboard Image

When: Sat., Nov. 28, 9 p.m. 2015

The malevolently dreamy pop-rock on Health’s current album, this summer’s Death Magic (Loma Vista), fitfully erupts into colossal blares of serrated, barely pitched noise—on the opening track, “Victim,” they sound like the ersatz basso profundo horn that movie trailers use to announce the appearance of an invading alien spacecraft or city-destroying monster. There are no monsters in the world of Death Magic, but the lost kids in the sinister demimonde of its parallel Los Angeles seem as isolated from human society as the castaways in Lord of the Flies—there’s no severed boar’s head, but there’s plenty of confusion, anomie, and casual emotional bloodletting. The lyrics to “Life” sum up the atmosphere: “Too high to sleep / Too tired to try,” front man Jake Duzsik sings, sounding simultaneously sweet and dead-eyed. And the bouncy, catchy chorus consists mostly of the repeated line “I don’t know what I want,” delivered in a gentle, anesthetized monotone. For this album Health overhauled their already distinctive aesthetic with the help of producers Andrew Dawson (a longtime Kanye West collaborator), Lars Stalford (who’s worked with the Mars Volta and post-Crystal Castles Alice Glass), and Bobby Krlic (aka the Haxan Cloak). Chattering dance beats mesh with thundering acoustic drums, and the mix’s vivid convolutions of prismatic electronics make it almost impossible to tell which sounds might have originated from a guitar. The music’s synthetic dislocations, which unmoor it from the grubby reality of taped-up cables and battered amplifier cabinets, mirror the decadent numbness of the lyrics.

Philip Montoro

Price: $14, $12 in advance

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