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Parts & Labor: Constant Future

Electronics are nothing new in Parts & Labor’s guitar-heavy attack. But on its sixth full-length, Constant Future, the New York art-punk trio cranks up the keyboard—both as an instrument and as a compositional tool—and forges a marginally fresh approach to its harsh yet melodic methodology. Granted, the band’s sound has always been a study in self-digestion; Constant Future, though, is the first Parts & Labor album in which much of the group’s chunkiness been fully broken down. In spite of its title, “Pure Annihilation” is a sugary synthesizer jingle anchored to a seafloor-trawling bass line—spritzed here and there with tambourine—and “Without A Seed” is a slow, singsong drizzle of digitized carbonation. Co-leaders Dan Friel and B.J. Warshaw still clear some space for a little ass-kicking; the sludge-pop drone of the disc’s title track is outshone only by the science-fiction undertow of “Skin And Bones” and the corroded robotics of “Echo Chamber.” Rubbed together, these pieces spark, and the result is one of the most dynamic, otherworldly, richly textured Parts & Labor albums to date, not to mention its uncontested catchiest.


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