Label: Mute Release date: 07/12/09 Website: Ears bleed, eyes ache, senses dull, and a cold sweat covers everything – either the Apocalypse is upon thee or intense waves of noise pound relentlessly at the skull. In the case of New Yorkers A Place To Bury Strangers it’s the second – and it’s amazing. Their last album, the stellar sophomore effort Exploding Head, saw more of the (emphasis on noise) noise-rock with pounding drum machines mixed with real drums, and slightly clearer vocals. The second single, ‘Keep Slipping Away,’ may be the band’s catchiest tune and one of the best singles this year. The original song’s reliance on New Order-esque clean guitar and dub delay on the vocals shows a nice new direction, while the lyrics are gloriously nonchalant to match the music. “I sit here waiting as time keeps slipping away,” intones Oliver Ackermann while pile driver drums recall Big Black’s lighter fare, like the tender ballad ‘Dead Billy’. Each chorus is an epic relief, elevating the song to empyrean heights and then gently releasing the listener on a cloud of delay and tight reverb. Each doleful sentiment passes over the sound field, adding to the air of nice relaxed ennui. B-side ‘Hit The Ground’ is the exact opposite, with huge distortions on the guitar and bass, and ear splitting feedback penetrating each pore of your being. Yet again showing why they’re the loudest band in New York, ‘Hit The Ground’ boasts buried vocals and a tight sound that forces each second of sound direct to the red. While the other nineteen and a half minutes are remixes, only the South Central remix adds anything interesting, incorporating vintage drum machines and keyboard sound effects to turn the song into an even more New Order jam. Cereal Spiller make a nice effort at minimalism, but in the end do the song a slight wrong by removing the needed element of claustrophobia. Maps just make a mush of off time vocals, washes of annoying reverb, and second-rate techno drums with a “portamento-from-hell” type bass. And Richard Fearless manages to keep the song into the same thing with a nice keyboard drop added for flavor. While the bursts of intense noise aren’t for every crowd, Keep Slipping Away shows that APTBS can make pop music – albeit extremely fucked up pop. It’s not too out of line to see the Maps remix fitting into the club scene, or the South Central one ending up on the radio. Really, each remix makes the song approachable for a new market, and the original is just damn good music. Rating 8/10