album reviews

Parts & Labor
Constant Future
Jagjaguwar (2011)

Kindred spirits: Lightning Bolt, the Handsome Furs, Sleigh Bells

The charm of Brooklyn's Parts & Labor is its blend of rowdy noise and catchy pop melodies. While the raucous Lightning Bolt is a common comparison (and a former touring partner), that band's experimental aggression is only a piece of the Parts & Labor story. On top of its chaotic noise, P&L layers earnest — and easily hummable — vocal melodies a la Arcade Fire or Handsome Furs.

The trio has found an ideal balance between the two extremes on its latest, "Constant Future". The layering of Dan Friel's and BJ Warshaw's vocals adds both intensity and urgency to these 12 tracks. Their bellows on "Without a Seed" make the song a toe-tapping pop anthem whose energy deepens with Joe Wong's galloping drum line and squealing instrumentation beneath.

There isn't a lot of variation to the Parts & Labor formula here, even though some tracks do stand out (the glitchy title track and the soaring "Pure Annihilation" in particular). Still, the way this group combines its droning, distorted noise with its boisterous vocals makes "Constant Future" thoroughly engaging.

-- Catherine P. Lewis

.: Originally published: The Washington Post: 22 April 2011
.: Constant Future on