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Sightings: Arrived in Gold

Sightings: Arrived in Gold

Release Date:2004

By Marc Masters | Posted 12/15/2004

When Sightings’ Mark Morgan opened his band’s self-titled 2002 debut with a subdued “one-two-three-four,” the ferocious noise that followed suggested that such calm might never reappear. Since then, the Brooklyn trio’s albums have spilled over with jarring dins, desperate screams, and an inhumanly overmodulated mix bent on destroying speakers. Small bits of space have crept in, but Sightings records are primarily a thrilling experiment in maximalist sound.

So when the band’s fourth CD, Arrived in Gold, opens with muffled, footstep-like percussion, an onslaught seems imminent. But as Morgan’s deadened vocals and ripping feedback slowly enter, followed by Richard Hoffman’s subterranean bass rumbles and John Lockie’s rolling percussion, nothing explodes. In fact, most of Arrived is surprisingly sparse, almost minimal in its lack of surface assault. Still, the energetic, unpredictable sounds here are as aggressive and pulse-quickening as any previous Sightings tracks. Building a dizzying momentum, the band throws machine-like loops, distorted blasts, and diesel-powered rolls into an ever-escalating mix.

Arrived is essentially two albums in one: The opening and ending tracks are abstract fields of sound, while three tracks in the middle approach no-wave territory—think Gang of Four deconstructed by the Dead C.— culminating with “Dudes,” an eye-watering workout that evokes previous poundings, yet retains the spare distance of this album’s new direction. The guys in Sightings have only been making records since 2000, but Arrived in Gold shows they’re not only able to carve their own mountains, but plow them down as well.

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