September 9th, 2009 | Album reviews

Download: Health “Die Slow”

[audio: Die Slow.mp3]

(from Get Color out now on Lovepump United)

Watching flames chew up the hills of Los Angeles, I’m struck by the fear and rapture that washes over me as I watch a beautiful orange glow under alien skies. As I listen to Get Color, the latest release from HEALTH, I find myself experiencing a similar sensation. Drums pound on your frontal lobe and high frequency tones wash over you as a guitar shifts its shape and a synthesized choir of vocal reverberation pans from left to right—and you can dance your ass off to this shit. This is a very sophisticated distillation of underground music’s best: My Bloody Valentine’s Isn’t Anything, Public Image Limited’s Metal Box and Olatunji’s Drums of Passions joined together as an era realizes that it is falling into decline. HEALTH is striving to reinvent—to rise above. There is a tension between hazy melody and speed metal that lulls and arrests the listener. Track 1—“In Heat”—leaps out at you fully formed, looking for a home inside your body. “Death +” disorients with mooger-foogered ferocity and atonal laps around the familiar. “Eat Flesh” is appropriately titled: traditional song structure is eviscerated with stabs of keyboards and pummeled with mallets like a drum head. HEALTH engages in simultaneous acts of deconstruction and creation, birthing a modern classic in the process. Get Color is both startlingly original and comfortably fucked up. What is most surprising is just how driving and focused the chaos of this album is. HEALTH takes aim at the horizon with “We Are Water” and fires off a lysergic warning shot with “In Violet.” The overall effect of Health’s second album is a heightened sonic awareness of environment—everything is suddenly seen with new eyes that change color and glow in the dark. This is modern music.

—Eyad Karkoutly