HEALTH DISCO4 :: PART II Loma Vista
Since they formed in 2005, HEALTH’s near-20-year career has been characterised by a constant mutating of their sound. From the jagged, DIY noise of their early work to the industrial-dance-punk that followed, they’re a band who have always felt like they’ve beamed in from some goth-rave future. Theirs is an evolution aided by a tendency to release remix albums alongside the originals, always pulling their sound into even more surreal directions.
These remix albums have since become a showcase for HEALTH’s collaborative spirit. DISCO4 :: PART I leaned into the shapeshifting nature of their sound, each track refracted through the lens of seemingly disparate acts including Soccer Mommy, 100 gecs and JPEGMAFIA, the only prerequisite for working together being that HEALTH were fans. PART II, in turn, dials up the abrasiveness with the aim of letting “legends of heavy music influence them”. Featuring the likes of Nine Inch Nails (yes, that particular track, entitled Isn’t Everyone, sounds exactly like you’d imagine), Ho99o9, PlayThatBoiZay and Poppy, the album is defined by the tension between beauty and brutality.
Not so much a disco as an apocalyptic circle pit, PART II veers heavily into the eviscerating noise that HEALTH do so well. On Cold Blood, metal titans Lamb of God’s relentless vocals are tempered by HEALTH’s shards of synths, while AD 1000, made with experimental hardcore duo The Body, rings out like a screamo church hymn. The Joy of Sect, a collaboration with industrial experimentalists Street Sects, is a standout moment, with wistful vocals, new wave drum machines and glassy synths all interspersed with unintelligible screaming. If ever there was a HEALTH calling card, this would be it.
The album closes with the sole new single, THESE DAYS 2021, which, with its echoing reverb and grimly foreboding lyrics about a dystopian future, sounds like it was taken from a prophetic 80s sci-fi soundtrack. After the breathless, visceral punishment of everything that precedes it, this nostalgic ending feels like an eerie sigh of relief. A feeling only HEALTH could evoke in this way.