Album review: HEALTH – ‘Get Color’ (City Slang)

Who needs healthcare reform when we’ve already got perfectly good HEALTH?

Perhaps the most amazing thing about music is that its popularity endures when, on the whole, it’s so relentlessly fucking tedious. Craven, careerist, grovelling, obvious – music shouldn’t give you what you want, it should give you things you never even knew you wanted. You try to cajole it into action, like the complacent lover it’s become – ‘Come on, music. Remember [a]Elbow[/a]? With the bukkake clips and the sabotage and the big screen? Oh, can’t we be that happy again? Please, darling. At least let’s try…’. But, alas, music almost always refuses. It prefers to keep things ‘comfortable’. It surrenders to normality and the need for things to make sense.

Of course, neither of us would be here if the slumber wasn’t broken occasionally. Try sleeping through [a]HEALTH[/a]. You won’t. HEALTH are magnificent, mostly because they don’t appear to make any sense – last year’s eponymous, de-civilising debut shattered the millennia-long lacquer of human logic to tear animal urges from your gut, set those latent instincts before you and call it art. Like that debut, ‘Get Color’ fights, fucks and dies and is terrifying, hilarious and hopelessly sad, often all at once. They are absurd records, really – in the same way man’s most basic needs are absurd. Kill something. Put it in your mouth. Repeat to survive.

With ‘Get Color’, HEALTH continue to bewilder, but they’re tired of just surviving, so they grow. Where their debut unfolded like a brutal montage, shock after staccato shock, recent single ‘Die Slow’ has verse and chorus, while repetition and melody – rejected by ‘Health’ in favour of endless rhythm – aren’t just permitted, but vital to everything here that’ll thieve your breath; whether it’s ‘Nice Girls’’ doomed heroism, the vicious machinery of ‘Death+’ or the exhilarating ‘We Are Water’. The LA quartet aren’t getting lax – their purity of purpose is unsettling – but they’ve softened enough to at least hint at a hole where a heart used to be.

It’s odd, but the more HEALTH lose heart, the more real they seem. The contradiction’s in Jake Duzsik’s voice – a distant, wordless absence resigned to loiter in orphan noise that doesn’t belong anywhere or to anyone; dance music bored of clubs, rock they’ll never let on the radio. Instead you’ll find HEALTH under your skin, at the end of your bed, everywhere you’re not looking, drenched in red mist.

Kev Kharas

What do you think of the album? Let us know by posting a comment below.

Click here to get your copy of HEALTH’s ‘Get Color’, with exclusive bonus disc, from the Rough Trade shop.

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