Get Color
Label ©  Lovepump United
Release Year  2009
Length  32:57
Genre  Post Punk
Personal Star Rating [1-5]  
  Ref#  H-0056
Bitrate  192 Kbps
    Track Listing:
      In Heat  
      Die Slow  
      Nice Girls  
      Before Tigers  
      Eat Flesh  
      We Are Water  
      In Violet  
    Additional info: | top
      GET COLOR is the highly-anticipated second album from Los Angeles noise-wonders HEALTH. After two solid years touring with the likes of Nine Inch Nails, Of Montreal, Crystal Castles, etc., and releasing their much-loved self-titled debut and bangin' HEALTH//DISCO remix record, the band convened in in an especially gnarly part of Lincoln Heights, L.A to record GET COLOR. The record is an exuberant proclamation of noise, rock and electronic splendor. It's a celebration of sound; pretty, harsh, soft and basked in a blanket of ethereal vocals.

      Review by Jason Lymangrover

      If their first album was an exercise in repetition and abrasiveness, Health took it up a notch for their sophomore album, Get Color. Instead of using a computer interface to record, as they did with their predominantly digital self-titled album, the quartet produced straight onto two-inch tape, in hopes of boosting the levels to the red without the interference of digital clipping. Like steroids, this technique of pushing analog to the extreme beefed up their art rock skronk to a hulking mass. As well as being larger, the aspect that separates Get Color from the band's debut of fractured near-instrumentals is that the tracks on board actually feel like fully realized songs, rather than sketched ideas. These songs are a lot more inviting as well. Things are still disjointed and hard to navigate in Health's home world, but now the gnarly setting is beautified by golden androgynous harmonies that envelop everything. When vicious guitar and drum loops are accompanied by smashing, grating bursts that emulate a belt-sander sawing glass or a sledgehammer smashing a vintage keyboard plugged through a Marshall wall, Jacob Duzsik's blanket-soft vocal lines cushion the blows exquisitely. Get Color walks that fine line between pleasure and pain. For every bludgeoning hit, there's relief. After the wonderfully freaky groove of "Die Slow," the electro-clatter bliss of "Before Tigers," and the frightening tribal assault of "Severin," the second half of "We Are Water" and the delicate ballad "In Violet" bring the record down to a soothing hush. For many, Health's noisy tendencies will be a bit much, but those who aren't afraid to dig deeper will be rewarded greatly. (Fashion-conscious L.A. scenesters have no business making music this good.)

      Pitchfork Review:

      On their self-titled 2007 debut, L.A. Smell alumni HEALTH were a band going for broke, throwing everything-- noise, aggression, tribalist tendencies, spastic energy-- at the wall and barely waiting around long enough to watch it splatter. It was a nihilistic sound-- post-apocalyptic, even-- and even though you could hear distinct traces of noise-rock forbears Liars and Boredoms in their approach, the sheer energy of the thing seemed to suggest the potential for the band to carve out its own style. Fast-forward two years later and HEALTH's profile has risen considerably, thanks in part to the national-media focus on their DIY homebase the Smell, a solid remix album, and a coveted opening slot for Nine Inch Nails on one of that group's final tours.

      All of the pieces were in place, then, for HEALTH to blow minds and unfasten jaws with the follow-up to their first release, Get Color. And when lead single "Die Slow" dropped a few months back, it seemed like they just might pull it off. The thrashing, industrial-disco track was easily the best thing the group had done to date, and it hinted that they had zeroed in on a more neatly defined aesthetic using a heavier focus on melody and song structure. So naturally the big question now is if the rest of Get Color lives up to the promise of "Die Slow". The answer is that it does... kind of.

      In terms of its stylistic shift, the album is an unqualified success. Whether the result of their mixed-genre collaborations with Crystal Castles, relentless touring or plain old musical growth, HEALTH have clearly located their sound. It hinges on a more delicate balance of noise and prettiness (think the heaviest part of a My Bloody Valentine track magnified to entire-song length) and emphasizes frontman Jake Duzsik's androgynous vocals. With this revamped style, portions of Get Color reach the high bar set by "Die Slow". One such moment is "Before Tigers", with huge walls of guitar-and-drum noise that play off its whisper-to-a-roar vocals. "Nice Girls" is meaner and more asymmetrical but succeeds with similar contrast. Here, forceful tribal drumming sets off screeching instrumental caterwauls that seem at odds with, but ultimately blend into its ethereal, almost feminine coos.

      HEALTH also incorporate more electronic textures this time around, and songs like "Death+" and "Eat Flesh" find the band using intricate synth patterns as jumping-off points for brutal freakouts. These tracks rely less on melody than those mentioned above, and while usually very sonically interesting, they seem to have only one purpose-- destruction. In that sense, a number like "Eat Flesh" fascinates my ears but doesn't do much for my heart. I'm not sure what I'm supposed to feel when I listen to the song, other than that maybe everything is fucked so it's best we just rage until the sun comes up. Which is a completely legitimate sentiment (and, heck, probably accurate) but I think I was able to glean that much from HEALTH's first record.

      With its machine-gun drumming and end-of-days guitar shredding, Get Color's second-to-last track, "We Are Water" also seems to be racing towards some kind of total annihilation, a violent end. But the band takes a surprising detour by following that song up with the more pensive closer "In Violet", which takes a step back to survey the scorched landscape, assess the damage done, and explore the possibilities beyond the moment. It's this sort of mature downshift that seems to suggest that if HEALTH can continue to find some deeper meaning behind their very impressive musicianship, they might be onto something great.

      Joe Colly, August 31, 2009
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