Published Sep 14, 2016After finally changing their name to Preoccupations, the band of four guys from Calgary have a new album. It, too, is self-titled and a kind of rebirth for the band.
Lead single "Anxiety" kicks off the album with dissonance and resignation, a dirge-like anthem with lighter elements that provide reprieve. The band evoke the dreamy guitars of DIIV and Wild Nothing on "Monotony," precise drums and weaving guitar lines broken through by vocalist Matt Flegel's desperate call: "This repetition's killing you, it's killing everyone." Preoccupations' songs feel warmer than before, which provides intriguing contrast to their dissociative subject matter.
Flegel's vocals can wear down listeners, but the instrumentation remains dynamic; the lyrics "Your favourite feeling was the ground falling out from beneath your feet" rumbles out of the simultaneously dark and light sounds that make up "Memory," capturing the band's instability and the changes they've experienced. Elements of new wave enter the mix of sounds before the songs turn into more atmospheric, instrumental territory. Driving bass ups the tempo on "Degraded," while pop and post-punk rub up against each other on "Stimulation."
Preoccupations are steadying their footing here, both growing up and grounding themselves sonically. "You're not scared, you're not scared, carry your fever away from here," Flegel intones, as the music fades out. (Flemish Eye)