When I first heard “Lux,” the new album from Kranky label artist Disappears, I was really drunk and really into it. It was aggressive and loud, with just enough melody. When I heard it the second time, I was sobering up. I enjoyed it for some of the sprawling fuzzy guitar that let me just fall into a daze. When I heard it the third time, I couldn’t help but feel like I was getting suckered into liking a band I was really into in high school, or a band I liked a year ago, or some other art/space/bedroom/garage-punk band. But now I realize why. It’s because this album is just doing what it’s doing. Disappears isn’t changing the face of music, nor do I believe that they want to.
“Lux,” if I may make so bold a conjecture, is the product of a band who is just about making the music it feels. Which, I think, is why they sound like the bands I was into in high school and why I like them. The lyrics are rough, almost percussive. And, while the band members are not exactly hyper-literate, they feel heartfelt — like the sort of songs you might start belting out on the side of the road when you’re alone — like the sort of songs I might have written in high school when I actually meant every single thing I said. Because of the coarse, loud nature of the album, the lyrics feel almost anti-Wordsworthian, which makes it seem that much cooler.
But if the lyrics were the spontaneous overflow of emotion, music, drum and guitar are the product of time and recollection. The music is what makes the album mature.
As I’ve said, the music isn’t exactly game-changing. But it is very good, and I personally find it a significant improvement on the melodramatic sounds I’ve found in other bands. Each song is backed by a wall of reverb and snare and crash and percussive vocals, but it is fronted by a collected guitar that seems to explore the nature of each song. Smoky and mysterious, the guitar gives each track that special something (youthful sense of adventure? wisdom?) that gives me faith in the band.
Another reason to put faith in this album is that it was released by Kranky. While I don’t believe that this label can do no wrong, I believe that Kranky knows what it’s doing. In a world full of bullshit noise and experimental music created by people who don’t know how to play their instruments and think they can get away with it, Kranky filters through the crap and puts out genuinely good music.
Like Kranky, Disappears has clearly listened to a lot of bands that have wanted to be bold and freak out the establishment; these bands were probably their influences. But it doesn’t feel like these guys give a crap about the novelty of noise. These guys are making music that they know, and they are making it well.