Hologram is the first release from New York Post-Punk legends A Place To Bury Strangers on their own newly formed label, Dedstrange. It is the follow up to their highly regarded fifth album, Pinned, and is a sonic return to A Place To Bury Strangers’ rawest, most unhinged sound.
2021 welcomed a line-up change, with new members John (bass) and Sandra Fedowitz (drums) of Ceremony East Coast cementing the most sensational version of the band to date. John and Oliver were childhood friends who had played in the legendary underground shoegaze band Skywave, crafting futuristic punk music together. This next phase is a sonic return to APTBS’s most raw and unhinged endeavours, pushed even further into a new chaotically apocalyptic incarnation.
With songs addressing the decay of connections, friendships lost, and the trials and tribulations of these troubled times, Hologram serves as an abstract mirror to the moment we live in. Written and recorded during the on-going global pandemic and in the midst of the decline of civilization, Hologram is a sonic vaccine to the horrors of modern life.
Opening with ‘End of the Night’ a track that buzzes with percussion and murky noise and synth, as reflected in the disorienting self-directed video. Oliver Ackermann elaborates: “‘End Of The Night’ is the first written in collaboration with either of the new band members. John sent me the drum track and challenged me to write a song over it. It sort of came about as a strange stream of consciousness and unknowingly became about the end of the former band and the beginning of the new one. Each layer of the song stripping away the dead skin from the old and regrowing layer and layer of distortion of the new band. It’s great to be working again with John Fedowitz. I feel like our songwriting styles shot off in different directions from our earlier band Skywave only to come back to the table with different experiences to create something special again.”
Moving into ‘I Might Have’ things are more intensely noisy, the melodic elements mixed into the chaos less subtely. It’s the raw sound that many associate with APTBS and the line-up alterations here only enhance the sound. ‘Playing the Part’ takes things back a notch and adds lashings of distortion to what could be something quite beautiful, there aren’t many bands that can get away with this but they are the masters. ‘In My Hive’ is pure noise rock, no holds barred all things let lose and concluding ‘I Need You’ is as close as they get to a love song.
APTBS are the undisputed masters of dark, dirty, industrial noise rock, the kind that gets under your skin; yet Hologram displays a softer side at times, and it fits them like a glove.