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An honest-to-goodness rock band on Kranky Records may be a rarity, but Disappears would be in a class by themselves no matter what label released their debut album, Lux. The band’s sound -- hypnotic swirls of guitar, to-the-point drums, snarled and sneered vocals -- is as simple as it is difficult to pin down: Disappears have an undeniable swagger, but they’re too hazy to be garage rock; they’re too gritty to fit in with the mostly wispy shoegaze revival; they’re noisy but not noise, raw but not lo-fi. Over the course of Lux’s ten songs, the band reveals a kinship with the darkest, most narcotic bands of the shoegaze era (Spacemen 3, Jesus and Mary Chain) and some of the most aloof, acerbic punk legends (Suicide, the Fall). However, Disappears actually have the most in common with vocalist/guitarist Brian Case’s other projects, the Ponys and 90 Day Men, in spirit if not in sound. Songs like “Gone Completely” and “Old Friend” mix the Ponys’ directness with 90 Day Men’s ambition, and share the heads-down intensity of both those bands. At times, Disappears’ songs are so driving that their groove threatens to turn into a rut, and some of Lux’s best moments occur when the band takes a breather and changes things up: “Not Nothing” allows Disappears to crack a smile with its irresistible beat and bassline, the title track borrows some of the Velvet Underground’s chugging, deadpan cool, and on “Little Ghost” Case trades his snarl for trance-inducing singing. Still, the fact that Lux is almost too consistent is hardly a problem for fans of the trippy, black-hearted rock that Disappears deliver so ably.

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