Arrived in Gold
orget what you’ve heard in the past from Sightings, this is a mindblower. Beginning as your typical primitivist noiseRAWK band, each record has shown them evolving and experimenting with new textures and new structures. Arrived in Gold sees the band moving into the realm of crumbling industrial and dance rhythms in addition to the rock. But all of this wouldn’t be possible without Samara Lubelski, who recorded the album, making sure that each instrument is heard, which most would agree is a welcome change from earlier Sightings albums.
Though the songs have all the jittery energy and dance beats that make bank these days, hooks are absent, replaced by trebly guitar screech and electronic howls. The second track, “Sugar Sediment”, driven by a skeletal surf riff and churning dance beats, might come closest to what most would consider catchy. Same goes for “Internal Compass,” which evokes memories of Six Finger Satellite’s harshest stabs at making the cool kids dance. The dense beats are similar to the sound Eno got from the Talking Heads, albeit this time its replete with dull vinegar-soaked razors.
The whole thing more accurately recalls Dread-era Wolf Eyes stuff, though, in certain parts. The doom-laden “One Out of Ten” and “The Last Seed” both exemplify best the power that the addition of electronics has given to the band, the latter acting as a respite from the more intense attack of the preceding “Dudes”. And it doesn’t hurt that Mark Morgan has enough confidence in his vocals to let us hear them this time around: on the “One Out of Ten” they’re delivered in a pleasingly dejected monotone while the bassist plays strung-out funk lines and at other times Morgan shouts, sing-speaks or screams.
In as far as Sightings have, since Michigan Haters, been incorporating new moods and elements into their music, Arrived in Gold sees the group finally striking the perfect balance. The songs are smart, the sequencing works, experiments in audible vocals pay off and the added sense of restraint in their music pays off by creating incredible tension. Well worth your time.
Reviewed by: Ian Johnson
Reviewed on: 2004-12-10