15 May 2013

Music review: Sightings

A little something I wrote a while ago. This review appeared in the April edition of miniguide magazine, a cultural guide to Barcelona.


The crumbling asphalt and skeletal blocks of Poblenou’s industrial debris weigh down so heavily that some say come nightfall, you can hear the groaning landscape transmute into tangible white noise. Bands that make it to these strange edges of Barcelona are unafraid of aural poltergeists - just ask the small but dedicated congregation that gathers at Rocksound every weekend. A shrine to experimental rock with its endless subgenres and subcultures, this venue is well suited to Sightings, a New York outfit whose music evokes the same deconstructed ambience for which this neighbor­hood is known.
Returning to Barcelona this month after almost a decade since their last gig here, they will celebrate the launch of their “new album” released on April 1st, apparently – a new album on April Fools’ Day, really? This trio debuted in 1997 as Mark Morgan and John Lockie, later joining forces with Richard Hoffman to produce music with routine rock beginnings. The basic grouping of guitar, bass, drums, voice and occasional piano encouraged minimalism and their sound soon began its journey of metamorphosis into an altogether different beast.
Their last album, City of Straw, is at once organic and spectral. On the opening track, “Tar and Pine,” a disturbed morse code taps its way onto your subconscious over the din of bass and guitar. Vocals burst through metallic drudgery as the album works itself into a frenetic climax on “Sky Above Mud Below.”
Mike Wolf of Time Out New York said “those elements seem based on some intuitive science that the rest of humanity hasn’t quite gotten hip to yet,” and he’s right. If you shy away from the dark or visceral then you will probably misunderstand Sightings as pure noise. It will haunt the weathered hardcore aficionados among you, hard pressed to find comparisons.
Sightings doesn’t pander to their fanbase. This band is on a mission of artistic discovery, and with each new album they slice through another layer of musical confection, growing closer to the bones of raw sound.
Apr 16 at 9pm