Much as the inner sleeve photo of birds circling a pollution-belching smokestack suggests, this spry post-punk trio's debut LP births a series of tightly wound meditations on loss and isolation. Austerity abounds in both the spartan arrangements and forlorn subject matter. The upside of this approach is heightened potency. Even the smallest details of these 10 songs matter. Despite a straightforward tone devoid of excessive pedal-pushing, Garrett Hadden coaxes a remarkable degree of color from his guitar, consistently intuiting when to lay out and thus making his wiry bursts of industrial-strength deconstruction all the more arresting. The twin bursts of reverb-soaked clatter that bookend "Master Forget" exemplify the strategic power of falling apart at the right time. "Both Eyes" simultaneously summons gothic shivers and flailing abandon to deliver a compelling exercise in three-minute urgency, while "You're Fake" maintains titular fidelity by pivoting toward straight punk rock. The ever-prolific Quin Galavis complements his creeping basslines with dark-tunnel vox that utilize opacity as a device, allowing listeners to draw their own connections. It all leads up to "So Long," a climactic coup de grâce built on a slow-rising groundswell of feedback and just enough humanity to temper the icy sting of resignation.
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