Parts & Labor Stay Afraid

This Brooklyn trio combines a whole whack of styles and influences into their unique brand of rock — the bombastic scope of progressive rock, the pummelling yet streamlined urgency of singular innovators Hüsker Dü, the cathartic and emotive nature of emo bands, and the noisy, free-wheeling pop sensibilities of Neutral Milk Hotel and Deerhoof. Put that all together, like the band do quite well on Stay Afraid, and you’ve got a big jumble of modern rock ambition that is both revitalising and timely, while being edgy and uplifting. What actually sets Parts & Labor apart from other modern rock bands (besides their key influences) is their tendency to work with the feedback of their guitars and pedals, and the squall emitting from their overloaded keyboards, to splash layers of noisy frequencies all over their proceedings, which are for the most part led by a one-two punching rhythm section and lead vocalist Dan Frier’s elevated, soaring delivery. This isn’t life changing stuff by any stretch of the imagination, but Parts & Labor are a good band who’ve crafted a unique standpoint for themselves that could appeal to a wide range of listeners, and that’s no slim pickings. (Jagjaguwar)