Sightings: Through the Panama

[13 November 2007]

By Nate Dorr

A decade into their career, Sightings are still operating somewhere on the outer fringe of noise-rock, and that’s saying something given their genre contemporaries. Even utilizing a traditional guitar/bass/drums format and with retro stadium rocker Andrew WK producing (he is, apparently, friends with Sightings’ home label Load), these songs are only barely managing to hold up the “rock” half of their genre equation, underlying structures evident but nearly inundated by the enormous, malfunctioning machinery of atonal static whine, fractured bass rumble, and chugging percussion. Impressively, the noise overwhelms the cues of traditional music, but not the senses as a whole: enough space left to make out the near-spoken vocals and give full attention to the full oddness of the instrumental processing. It can difficult listening, often seeming as much an abrasive sound collage as music, but like earlier innovators like Suicide, Sightings put their raw sounds to harrowing use, as on a cover of Scott Walker’s tale of tortured politcal prisoners, “The Electrician”. Evocative, unsettling, and, even in its allusions to more familiar rock forms, uncompromising.

Published at: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/sightings-through-the-panama/