Parts & Labor - "Wedding In A Wasteland" (mp3)
Parts & Labor has been on a hot streak that even a substantial lineup change can't stop, adding a guitarist and switching drummers but keeping the essentials of their distortion-drenched sound. Their third full-length in as many years, Receivers, might be their best yet, to the point that I'm starting to feel like it was premature for me to put the last two records in my year-end top tens. As good as the band was with Whiney G. Weingarten on drums (and I did worry they could only change for the worse with his departure), his power drill approach had been stretched about as far as it could go by his last release with the band, the relentless mini-song avalanche Escapers Two, so it's a little refreshing to get someone with a different approach behind the kit. Joe Wong is a sturdy drummer, but not a dull one, and his steady hand guides the chugging grooves of Receiver's longer songs. But the real progression on the album is just that their melodic facility is catching up with their desire to make big anthemic songs as heard through an abrasive noise-rock prism. And most surprisingly, the album's theme/gimmick, of incorporating dozens of fan-submitted sound clips into the album, is completely seamless and integrated into the songs, at least as much as that can be said of a band that's always filled its tracks with random noise bursts.