There is a lot of music that simply seems to lay it on thick. Whether it’s clouding the arrangements with unnecessary chords or sometimes, it’s simply adding guitar reverb for lack of a much more appropriate instrument or tone. And still, there is a great deal of musicians who are carefully adjusting every shift to always be in complete harmony. Although Parts & Labor is never one that could easily be labeled as ‘harmonious,’ the experimental rock band is definitely one of the most challenging outfits in that their brand of music is always a thick new experience. With Constant Future they’ve fully amassed a new style to their catalog and at the same time, it’s a worthy listen.
While the album doesn’t necessarily reach the great expectations bestowed upon it, there’s a solid contribution in terms of style diversity and simple song progression. “Skin and Bones” drives with a pulsating synth-line and a grinding guitar and while the band is able to convey their 80s influence in supportive style, the song’s trembling bass line is the targeted instrument. By the time the music releases, it’s the sole supporter and it’s one of the album’s few quiet moments. Elsewhere, on the thunderous “Hurricane,” drums and guitars battles in a reckless disarray of noise. Somewhere in between the noise of Battles and Dosh, Parts & Labor are also capable of memorable moments, especially with lines like “I used to be a hurricane but now I’m just a breeze.” And what better way to express that disappointing feeling than with a building climax to a relentless groove?
One would assume the band’s music could easily be labeled as ‘math rock’ – and with precise drum lines, accurate guitar weaving and an even more meticulous interlaying of various keyboards one would be almost right in assuming it. However, for as much as Constant Future focuses on moving ahead and looking onward, there is also very little focus in terms of song structure and resemblance. Many of the songs are either pounding spectrums of noise-clustered chords (“Outnumbered”) or the flipside, like on “Echo Chamber,” where the band lets loose for more of that aforementioned 80s influences. The latter’s style showcases a band that is able to focus on melody and counter-melody while the former is obviously meant for a much broader, all-encompassing sound. Either way, they both come off as natural and almost, as essential aspects of Parts & Labor’s overall, absorbing sound.
A song like “A Thousand Roads” seems like something otherworldly when in the hands of Parts & Labor – echoing with a nervy guitar melody and synthesized chords – the precision of their music is always on display. And although their own thickness seems to get a bit cloudy at times, it’s never unassuming or presumptuous. Instead, the noise that creeps in and out of Constant Future is always consistent and never over-abundant; in turn, it’s very simply a solid release.
“Constant Future” by Parts & Labor