On their newest record, Parts & Labor received hundreds of sounds (both found and created) from their listeners, and implemented the sounds as a guide to create eight roaring, experimental pop songs that tear into a world out of sorts. The tone is dark and haunting. The setting varies between the bubble known as the suburbs, a wedding, and an open road littered with questions.
On Receivers, founding members Dan Friel and BJ Warsaw brought in Joe Wong on drums to replace departed drummer Chris Weingarten and Sarah Lipstate on guitars. The now four-piece has kept its anthemic vocals and its hardcore questioning, but they've lost -- along with their drummer -- a propensity to explore open spaces in their songs. The sounds they received became the album's bridges and they border between beauty and raw noise, but the real story here is Parts & Labor expanding on their pop laden choruses, creating a powerful, near "traditional" rock album.
On "Satellite" the band isn't afraid to wander away at the end and then bring it back together so it can slide right into "Nowhere's Nigh", a fuzzy vocal song with experimental sounds and Brian Eno's pop sensibilities wandering throughout. "Little Ones" is a stand-out noise rock anthem. Listening as closely as you can in headphones you're still unlikely to be able to discern all of the sound samples used; bagpipes, organs, and horns stand out, but beneath them there's something that sounds like a lawnmover, a vocal sampling, and a dozen other noises my ear can't single out.
The real feats on this album is how they blended in new members while furthering their sound and direction, and how the new band managed to use a variety of sounds without overindulging. There's a formula, a theory, and a complete song that seamlessly blends into the next on this amazing, noisy pop album, making a late case for 2008 best of lists.