Published Jul 23, 2011A lot of people underrate loudness, and Disappears are most definitely loud. Not in the "I need a earplugs" way, but in a droning, all-encompassing din that earplugs can't defend against. Clambering on stage at Sneaky Dee's cramped upstairs room, the Chicago quarter plowed through their short discography with a dogged tenacity. Disappears blended shoegaze, garage rock and the constant pulse of Krautrock into a surprisingly groove-heavy mix, while lead singer/guitarist Brian Case barked through heavy reverb.
The set split the difference between the band's latest Guider and last year's debut Lux. There was a Suicide cover in there somewhere too; chalk it up to the band's gift that it blended seamlessly with the original material. Disappears' songs are deceptively minimal, showcasing each instrument without ever getting showy. Drummer Steve Shelley of Sonic Youth is definitely the band's secret weapon, equally adept at 4/4 Krautrock beats and pummelling rock beats.
The group understand the power of repetition: "Halo" pivoted on churning guitar as Case chanted "I want to protect you," an oddly twisted romantic ode for this band. The hypnotic motorik groove got people on their feet, while "Superstition" decried original sin and organized religion over modified '50s twang-and-drone, sounding like the alternate-universe Velvet Underground as Case proved he has one of the best howls in rock'n'roll.
They closed the set with the swirling, nearly 15-minute "Revisiting," firing blasts of bracing noise rotating around a constant pulse; Shelley's thumping beat kept the band grounded while the guitars braced and moaned, until the entire groove collapsed in a heartfelt drum roll. The band bowed graciously as the feedback dissipated and the audience spilled out, ears ringing but still all smiles.