Gary War, Jared’s Lot

Hua Hsu

By Hua Hsu

on 08.28.12 in Reviews
Aerobic synth madness that’s dense, frantic and strangely intimate

It should surprise no one that Gary War was once part of Ariel Pink’s live band. Much like the bedroom-pop savant, War also conveys the image of a loner possessed by a singular, intensely weird vision. War’s third album of aerobic synth madness is dense, frantic and strangely intimate. Punk riffs hammered out on keyboards (“Pleading for Annihilation,” “Superlifer”), Suicide beats that relentlessly bang on, arpeggios to the synth gods and not a human voice to be heard. “Thousand Yard Stare” sets the tone, pre-launch gurgles giving way to a glorious analogue run and a lonesome, distant vocoder. The maniacally screwy “Advancements in Disgust” sounds like three, distorted songs at once; all the while, two robots try to shoot each other with phasers. The dreamy, psychedelic “World After” is the most conventional song here; its gentle, coasting pace sounds downright lush alongside the high-resolution mania elsewhere. Jared’s Lot is a short album — it’s a shade under 30 minutes — but it’s easy to lose yourself in its jacked-up rhythms, hall of mirrors-reverb and meticulous layering. All the while, one waits for those moments when War himself rises above the fray — the sweet, ethereal reprieve in the middle of “Advancements,” the understated, vocoded harmonies of “Thousand Yard Stare.” Even then, he comes across like an outsider spooking his own songs.