Preoccupations - New Material
Preoccupations are returning in 2018 with their strongest and most powerful album to date. "New Material" builds a world that is dark and exhilarating by a band in their prime. The 4-piece self-recorded the album and then had Justin Meldal-Johnson (M83, Wolf Alice) taking care of the mixing to amplify the band's singular post-punk grit. Their music has always been exploring the darker side of music and worked through themes of creation, destruction and futility. This time, the music is living fully on the darker side. The result is New Material, a collection of tracks that solidifies Preoccupations to be true masters of their sound. Talking about the album, lead vocalist, songwriter and bassist Matt Flegel says "It's an ode to depression and self-sabotage". With virtually nothing written or demoed before the band sat down together, the process was more collaborative than on the previous album. Opener "Espionage" kicks off with a clattering, rhythmic echo that gives way to sprinting percussion and a melody in the orbit of Manchester's classics. "Manipulation" explores the futility of going through the motions, balancing a droney, minimal march with a thunder roll that brings it to the brink, and to the doomed romantic declaration, "please don't remember me like I'll always remember you." "Dissaray" bursts up like a blackened confetti cannon, the song's undeniably bright melody dancing over a refrain of "aarray, disarray, disarray" and literally nothing else. "Decompose" is a tense, speedy, "blow yourself up and start again" type of song, the very picture of creation and destruction, as Flegel writes "for better or worse, we are cursed in the ways that we tend to be." And while calling an album 'New Material' might seem like a smartass move, the truth is it's as matter-of-fact a title as Espionage, Disarray, or anything else on the record. Why fight that?