Label: Exploding in Sound
Released: 18th May 2018
Ever wondered what it would be like if a post-punk band pitched as post-hardcore took being post-anything so far they fractured themselves into tiny compartmentalised fragments of multiple genres would actually sound like? The true answer is an essay all of its own but the short answer, which is accessible in thirty minutes and eight tracks, is the third studio effort from Brooklyn’s Big Ups.
‘Two Parts Together’ is a misnomer of a title, a thematic misconception of the underlying narratives running throughout this ocean-like body of work which is more like twenty parts together than two. 2014’s ‘Eighteen Hours Of Static’ was a brash and brutal display of hardcore punk that pitted science against faith while 2016’s ‘Before A Million Universes’ was a progressive punch of punk, grunge, and rock that questioned the introverts role in an extroverted society. ‘Two Parts Together’ is an expansive rewriting of the post-genre rulebook, with much of its eight tracks comprising of a sonic palate that was thrown at a wall in the hope that something would stick, all the while contemplating the uncertainty of life wrapped up in a multiple-song metaphor about lakes.
Ire Works-era Dillinger Escape Plan mathcore pummels and pounds the senses with polyrhythmic structures and dissonant riffs in the titular opener while ‘In The Shade’ channels the hardcore punk they carved their name on. Casting their net wider than ever, ‘Trying To Love’ is the lovechild of The XX and a lo-fi hardcore-punk fan, whispering dual vocals hauntingly build into chaotic, colliding, and cascading cockpits of noise meanwhile breaking into a haze of shoegaze and noise-rock a la Nothing on ‘Fear.’ It’s nauseating, it’s uncomfortable, and ultimately, it’s uncertain, and by completely and utterly disorientating the listener, they’ve physically delivered their thematic message. Instrumental interludes that lack a purpose and slow-burning prog-leaning detours drag down a concise display of chaos, somewhat derailing the disorientation that is so important in understanding this records thematic and sonic intentions.
It’s difficult to quite describe whether disorientation through sound is something to praise or critique and yet that is where the magic of ‘Two Parts Together’, and Big Ups as a whole lies: it doesn’t make sense, and that is okay. Jack Press