Preoccupations – New Material

Mount Hood from Mount Tabor

Preoccupations’ new album, “New Material,” operates at a high level, just like all their music. This album is more approachable, to some degree, than previous albums, but all the songs still have that sharp edge that the band has carried with them since their formation. “New Material” is not as dark as the self-titled album, which felt like it had a flat and dim tone (not a bad thing; I love that album). Songs like “Disarray” and “Solace” feel poppier than anything on the other albums, there’s a weird kind of flashiness to the guitars in those songs that puts some of the other music into sharper relief. It’s exciting to hear them play around with their sound and experiment a little bit with the shape of their albums–“New Material” ends with an instrumental track, “Compliance,” which to me seems like it should be playing over the end credits of an elliptical and terrifying sci-fi movie, and the album lacks a mega-song statement like “Memory” or “Death” (the closest is probably “Antidote”), and it feels like a quicker and easier listen because of those changes.

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