Parts & Labor, Call Me Lightning, Child Bite | Empty Bottle | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader

Parts & Labor, Call Me Lightning, Child Bite Critic's Choice Early Warnings (Music) Recommended Soundboard

When: Wed., April 20, 9:30 p.m. 2011

It's high time people stopped calling Parts & Labor "experimental" or "noise rock." Though the band earned those labels coming up in the hoity-toity Brooklyn art-rock scene nearly a decade ago, since their 2008 album Receivers founding members Dan Friel and B.J. Warshaw have knotted the loose ends and tightened up the tangents to give Parts & Labor's sound a new clarity—these days it's more hooky than bizarre, more poppy than noisy. There's still some foggy weird to it—samples, chattering toys, snippets and sweeping waves of keyboard—but now they keep it on a leash. The new Constant Future (Jagjaguwar) further hones this approach, its melodies perfectly packaged in economical arrangements. Even the band's return to a three-piece lineup (Sarah Lipstate, who played guitar on Receivers, is gone) seems to have heightened the album's focus. Though Friel and Warshaw continue to share the mike, the transitions between their vocal timbres don't cause so much as a hiccup in the music's unstoppable flow. The songs on Constant Future range from triumphant, meaty anthems ("A Thousand Roads") to pulsing, sinister grooves ("Rest"), but it nonetheless projects a singular, unified energy—it's still early in the year for sure, but I'll be damned if this isn't one of the best things I've heard so far. —Kevin Warwick

Price: $8

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