HEALTH - HEALTH
Record Label: Lovepump United
Release Date: September 18, 2007
This year has been an extremely busy and mind bogglingly confusing year for me thus far. With many big decisions being thrown my way, it feels like I am always doing something or needing to make an important choice. Usually in chaotic times like these I will reach for a soothing, laidback album, but not this time. Instead I have found myself frequently reaching for the late 2007 full-length debut from L.A. noise rocker’s HEALTH. Rather than seeking the calming comforts of say Elliott Smith or Early Day Miners, I instead turn to the chaotic styling’s of HEALTH to serve as an auditory companion to those days that blur by in a frantic rush.
First things first, this is not an album that is meant to be listened to at moderate volume levels, it is meant to be blasted from your stereo. “Heaven” is anchored by superb drumming, with the beats providing a steady backbone to the swirling noise and punctuating guitar notes. The vocals on this track are very hushed and just barely shine through the instruments to create an eerily calm ambiance. While “Heaven” shows HEALTH showing off their creative talents while maintaining a stable groove, the thirty-six second “Girl Attorney” finds the band cutting loose entirely in a freak-out of jagged guitars and rapid fire drumming. “Crimewave” is easily the most recognizable track on the album due to its recent popularity after being covered by blog favorites Crystal Castles. “Crimewave” is one of my favorite tracks on the album and meshes the best parts of HEALTH’s more reserved and chaotic passages perfectly. The highlight of this track is when the barrage of instruments abruptly stop and the percussion solo begins.
“Courtship” is another blink-and-you’ll-miss-it track like “Girl Attorney”, only this features lots of screams blended amongst swaths of digitized noise before slowing down considerably with hypnotic chants and steady drumming. “Glitter Pills” seems like an early precursor to the bands recently released remix album as it is largely beat driven and differs substantially from a bulk of the tracks on the album. “Perfect Skin” is one of the last tracks on the album and easily one of my favorites. “Perfect Skin” is slow and deliberate and has a heavier feel to it than most of the tracks on the album.
HEALTH recorded their debut in their favorite hometown venue The Smell during early mornings. While you would not be able to notice this by simply listening to the record, the fact that the band recorded their debut album in a hometown venue they love and play frequently makes it feel like the sounds you hear on the record is exactly what you would experience if you attended a HEALTH show. Unfortunately, I live a great distance from any city with a thriving scene so it may be awhile until I get to experience HEALTH in a live setting. However, I have seen performance videos and it is obvious these guys put on a great show and throw themselves into every performance. HEALTH may not be for everyone depending on your musical tastes and maybe a little jarring upon first listen, however with every subsequent listen the album begins to grow on the listener and demands repeated listens. This is an impressive debut offering and I cannot wait to see these guys have in store for their follow up effort.
I'm not sure how much longer I can go without hearing this record. Everyone seems to love it and the richy d seal of approval only makes me want to hear it more.
haha it definitely takes a few listens to get into, especially if you don't usually listen to bands like this. At first I thought it was good but nothing I would go crazy over, but after a few listens I couldn't stop listening to it