Burnt Books

The self-titled debut from South Carolina's Burnt Books is a searing experiment in the fusion of noise, hardcore and punk. While the instrumentation is wild and rollicking — the familiar energy of punk chords shading into an atonal frenzy — it is Zoe Lollis's vocal performance that takes centre stage. Incorporating eerie clean singing, hardcore growls, ghostly wailing and the snotty tone of schoolyard taunts, it's a nimble and varied performance that serves as the burning nucleus of the record. The moments when Lollis's voice is showcased on its own, such as on "Materialist Conspiracy Theorist," accompanied by the eerie strum of her banjo, often stand out as stranger than the spiralling fractals of noise. The production is also spectacular, preserving the roughness and granularity of each layer of instrumentation or allowing for minimalist moments to be as sharply defined as a single snowflake landing on an eyelash. (At A Loss)