Disappears – Era

written by: September 11, 2013
Album-art-for-Era-by-Disappears Release Date: August 26, 2013


Quiet, synth-y chords and a series of guitar picks are a quick breath before the music picks up and distorted vocals come in on Era. It’s the fourth album from Chicago band Disappears, and its opening track “Girl” is an explosive start to an otherwise dark, hypnotic album.

Era is full of lengthy tracks, most of which have minimal lyrics. This album is full of ambient aggression. Most of the instrumentation is distorted and eerie, creating a particular atmosphere full of gnarly guitars and creepy sounds under the main rhythms.

The songs on Era are very well mixed and constructed. No drum beat, synth, or shriek sounds out of place. Drummer Noah Leger makes a solid addition to Disappears after the departure of Sonic Youth drummer Steve Shelley.

The focal point of Era is the nine-and-a-half minute long track “Ultra.” Lead singer Brian Case repeats, “If you go, I go,” in a voice suitable for a vampire. He bellows with power. Halfway through the track, a sound like a terrifying vacuum cleaner sweeps into the soundscape; industrial, metallic sounds make an appearance as well before the earlier drum and guitar rhythms kick back in.

None of the tracks on Era are concise by any means, but it’s fitting. They meander with intention, like a walk in dark woods, with breaks and surprises making it all the more interesting.

The lyrical repetition is also fitting; it enhances the supernatural feel of the album, as though a spell is being cast. Disappears becomes a little more upbeat on “Elite Typical,” which sounds like it has dancing potential, but is still roughly the antithesis of any peppy club beat.

“New House” pulsates the album to a close; its softer quality highlights the essence of Era. Case repeats, “A new house in a new town,” and even though the initial meaning is minimal, it gains significance with repetition.

Disappears seems to have found a more solid sound for itself with Era, in contrast to its previous work. The band now inhabits a much darker, murkier space that is very interesting in contrast. With the exception of “Kone,” a 15-minute psychedelic instrumental released earlier this year, Disappears never basked in its own melodies in the past, which is what makes Era so entrancing.

The fourth album from Disappears somehow sits between bone-chilling and danceable. The rhythms maintain the consistency of the album, while the vocals, shrills, and echoes haunt it like ghosts.

Disappears – Era tracklist:

  1. “Girl “
  2. “Power”
  3. “Ultra”
  4. “Era”
  5. “Weird House”
  6. “Elite Typical”
  7. “New House”