[Lovepump United; 2007]

Rating: 2.5/5

Styles: noise rock
Others: The Mae Shi, Boredoms, Black Eyes

L.A. noisemakers HEALTH wait till “Triceratops,” the third song on their self-titled debut, to open their mouths -- and when they do, any chance of making out a lyric is obliterated by a thick layer of guitar distortion that runs laps around the tune. This is more or less pure noise rock, with the requisite sub-one-minute blasts of noise (“Girl Attorney”), with or without screaming (“Courtship”) and a blistering drum solo that roils through the end of an otherwise poppy number (“Crimewave”).

Occasionally reminiscent of defunct D.C. yellin’ & drummin’ combo Black Eyes, HEALTH, to their credit, get right to the fucking point. The record’s over in about half an hour, over which time the band touches on much of what we’re already familiar with from people like Ex-Models, though HEALTH aren’t quite as lithe as the Models, who’ve admittedly been at this game a bit longer. They’re not charmless, however; “//M\” sounds damn good, with a bit of that insistent creepiness of early Clinic about it.

For all the hullabaloo of the record’s noise tracks, HEALTH still manage to squeeze in “Glitter Pills,” their personal take on Kraftwerk-style electro pop, replete with metallic distortion and those requisite robo-vocals -- honestly, it blows. The disappointment I felt on hearing “Glitter Pills” was enough to give me pause about the rest of HEALTH’s debut. Funny that, for music this dense, it’s easy enough to reduce the lion’s share of HEALTH to a few tossed-off touchstones. Most of the band’s influences are quality ones, to be sure, but aside from the record’s roomy sound (recorded at L.A. venue The Smell on vintage mics), there isn’t much new to get excited about. Even so, HEALTH, as much as or more so than their peers, would make a fine soundtrack for some good old violent drunkenness. Yeah, that’s the ticket.

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