Published Nov 15, 2018After a four-year gap between records, the Great Sabatini return; full of songs of grief and shifts in personal identity, Goodbye Audio takes a familiar script and tosses it on its head.
Album openers "Still Life with Maggots," "Dog Years" and "Strip Mall or: The Pursuit of Crappiness parts 1-4" are an ode to their erratic style of noise rock — tempo and groove changes happen on a dime. These arrangements would make the likes of Shallow North Dakota and Kittens proud.
Slight of hand and volume manipulation have always been the band's best assets. The unexpected turns and transitions in songs like "Hand of Unmaking" are what keep listeners engaged and on edge. The Great Sabatini never shy away from incorporating the unexpected into their sound.
The most notable change in the band is Sean Arsenian's approach to vocals. What was once mostly a brute force attack has flourished into an array of styles: Everything from soft brooding on "Brute Cortege" and spoken word on "Tax Season in Dreamland," to the harsh howls on "Still Life with Maggots" give the album density and the option to go in so many more directions than were possible before.
Goodbye Audio is a heady album in all of the best ways possible, honouring the past while also elevating the genre in ways so unexpected and desperately needed. (No List)