8 / 10
Despite being My Disco’s third album, Little Joy sounds like the second part of a trilogy. Episode one, 2008’s Paradise, was the band’s first foray into minimalism. Highly strung and obsessive-compulsive, Paradise took noise rock and beat it bloody against a brick wall over and over and over again.
Like its predecessor, Little Joy was recorded by Steve Albini at his Electrical Audio studios in Chicago. The man eschews the title of “producer” and has a remarkable talent for capturing the raw essence of a band. It fits My Disco to a tee, aided by the fact that their sound has in part been influenced by Albini’s own musical projects (see: Shellac, Big Black, Rapeman).
Little Joy certainly appears to be a logical progression from Paradise. My Disco continue unabated in their examination of minimalism and repetition, concepts that have defined the band’s sound for the past few years. With that in mind, Little Joy comes off as a curiously meditative record. A more exploratory Empire Strikes Back to Paradise’s action-packed A New Hope.
Album opener ‘Closer’ begins with the familiar clang of an aluminium guitar repeating the same jagged note for a good 30 seconds before the drum and bass kick in with pendulum-like timing. From here on though, things get a little different.
The bass has been turned down a notch and drummer Rohan Rebeiro takes the pilot seat for a good portion of the songs on offer, frequently playing two different parts simultaneously. What sounds like a set of highly tuned toms often dance in and around the main beat, which Rebeiro keeps in time with his usual surgical precision. This is most apparent on ‘Turn’, which, combined with chanting vocals, sounds like the band’s take on an Amazonian tribal number.
‘Young’ is one of the album’s highlights, introducing itself as a screaming reminder of the noise My Disco are capable of generating, before gradually deconstructing over the course of nine minutes to reveal the naked simplicity of the drum and bass beat that’s been driving the machine the entire time.
‘A Turreted Berg’ may very well be the first and finest krautrock song of the new decade, while ‘Sun Bear’ and the epic ‘Rivers’ both take My Disco’s signature metallic abrasion and filter it through the stream of hypnotic tribalism that flows throughout the album.
The latter begins with a simple see-sawing, two-note bass riff that lasts the track’s entire length. The song builds over time, ebbing and flowing between chaos and calm. Liam Andrews’s bass provides the steady platform and his monotone vocals sporadically remind us that “There is always time”. Even at almost ten minutes in duration, it’s so damn captivating that there’s almost not enough.
This review originally appeared on The Enthusiast at http://www.theenthusiast.com.au/archives/2010/review-little-joy-by-my-disco/