Review of Health album Get Colour.
Once in a while, there comes around an outfit who defy easy classification. Such an act are LA's Health, who have managed in their 3 year career to create music which seemingly follows no traditional school of thought. Dismantling, disarming: they've been described as 'noise punk' and 'dance punk' and probably 'dance noise' and other unhelpful epithets, but somehow nothing quite stretches around their unique sound. It's hard to know where to begin.
The most remarkable thing about Get Colour is its energy - from the gushing harmonies of the opening track 'In Heat,' the record is literally humming with the stuff. But rather than it having the rawness of 2006's Health, Get Colour has seen Health harness their power and give it direction, becoming a much more polished beast. They have always favoured musical contrast: the heavenly vocals against the industrially loud drums, melody against jarring white noise, but this time around it's different. It's still noisy stuff, but the album flows in complete clarity from one end to the other, every note feels calm and deliberated. Take for example the 80s electronic crunch of 'Die Soon': restrained and lovesick, almost quiet by their standards. Elsewhere, the exacting rhythm of 'Death +' is so hypnotizing that you're in the middle of a huge crescendo of bleeps and clashes before you've even realised!
But whilst this new-found sheen is evident, don't assume that Health have developed sudden concern for our hearing. As it advances, Get Colour is slowly engulfed by a desolate soundscape of machinery, drawing to a dramatic conclusion with final song 'In Violet.' It's a strange and uncompromising close to the record: the dark, pulsing robot noises of its beginning are overtaken by a melody so bleak it feels like the slow ebbing away of civilisation.
This conflict of ice-cold futurism and human volition makes Get Colour an odd yet truly exceptional record. It's a compliment when I say that Health are incomparable to anything else around. When the apocalypse is finally upon us, there's no doubt this album will be piped out of every speaker.