Published Sep 01, 2020Los Angeles experimental rockers Sprain make bleak and knotty music that pays in catharsis. Their new album, As Lost Through Collision, combines elements of noise rock, slowcore, post-rock, post-hardcore and doom into a challenging mix.
Opener "Slant" starts with bursts of fiery guitar squall and pummeling drums before slowing in stages down to chiming notes, reminiscent of those found on Slint's Spiderland, and segues through with droning vocals and hazy, serrated guitars. "Worship House" builds off a simple, fuzzy riff into buzzing post-hardcore surge, then slows down to wobbly guitar lines and the album's most notable hooks and melodies, which bloom elegantly and are, true to Sprain form, off-kilter and laced with unease, punctuated by sporadic screams.
"Everything" starts off deceptively, given what follows. A crystalline guitar melody rings with a groovy, lurching rhythm. Then the guitars and drums crank things up briefly, then it's back to the groove. Then things get cranked up for voluminous twanging and chiming. Vocals move from speaking to screaming, and three and a half minutes into the over-fifteen-minute-long track, it transitions into a noise-doom epic. For some people, this may or may not be a good thing, as it can be akin to a lesson in patience, punishment and feedback. Closer "Constant Hum" moves through plodding drums and discordant guitars with morose vocals that slowly build into clamorous bursts.
While there are hooks and melodies throughout, for some people, it may not be enough to counterbalance the lulls and onslaughts that occupy a good portion of the album. But for those who love prolonged auditory ebbs and flows of tension and catharsis with an experimental bent, As Lost Through Collision will do just fine. (The Flenser)