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Above the Noise

Blackplate's Every Day is Sadderday


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Blackplate's debut on the Brooklyn-based Muddguts label is called Every Day is Sadderday and that is exactly my least favorite thing about the album. Not for any personal flaw or poverty of meaning, but simply because everything else is so strong on this album that it seems like a professional prerogative to find a crack in the mold somewhere.

Let's check the music: no, nothing bad there. The trio of guitarist/vocalist Sean Casement, bassist Max Brotman and drummer Valis VanderLinden-Casement plays perfectly on a production by ace engineer Steve Albini, who captures his signature balance of bright, live sound with a vocal-friendly mix. So let's discuss those vocals. Taken live, Blackplate is a loud band with noisy dynamics that can bury the clarity of Sean's words. This doesn't happen here. Lines about genocide, loss and bitter regret fall with sibilant clarity through the gritted teeth of genuine pain. Anguish is rent from the back of the man's soul and funneled out of his head with no disruption and a perfect capture from the microphones. The production buoys the words, punctuating this floating disaster with waves of affected guitar over the dry debris of an immaculately disordered rhythm section.

This album is a crime scene photograph in high definition. Its eight songs unspool upon the ears like the Zapruder film if it were placed on a vinyl urn for the joy of future audiologists. My favorite's the last track, "Lament (for a Dead Brother)." It's truly the record's thesis statement. If you like Wire, Sonic Youth, The Wipers, Melvins and all of their ilk, well, good for you. This is better because it's fresh and completely homegrown and feral. The band is from Shively, for Pete's sake. Which is pretty far away from all of the metropolitan hubs where legions of shitheads pay out the nose to try to capture an iota of this glorious kind of sound. It's that good.

Which brings me back to finding a flaw. Full disclosure, I am thanked in the album's notes. Not because of any media coverage but because I informally suggested a venue for the band to book on a bygone tour. Anyway, amateur move, fellas. I didn't do jack, nor did anyone else in the mentions. This is your affair and you own this ugly and splendid monster you have set loose to sound out truth in our corrupted world. May it tear up all the right places.

Collin Yeo likes the term "reviewer-at-large." He lives in Arcata, where he shares his hot takes freely to the detriment of the locals.


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