Taste the Rainbow
When Los Angeles’ HEALTH released their loud and proud self-titled debut back in 2007, it was met with a healthy dose of cautious optimism. It had potential to spare for sure, but also found the group throwing numerous sounds and effects at the wall to see what would stick, with a main focus on the dichotomy between blistering noise and sly dance grooves. Subsequent years found the focus shifting from one to the other, with a surprisingly revelatory remix album giving due to the latter while an opening slot on Nine Inch Nails’ final tour encouraged the former. Rather than following one direction over the other and risk oversimplifying their sound, the band brings them both into a tighter, more cohesive unity on the enthralling Get Color.
Once again producing themselves, HEALTH abandoned recording on a laptop this time around in favor of recording onto 2″ tape . The analog technique suits their sound, lending a welcome warmth to their noise as well as room for that noise to breathe and flow into their softer, more groove-based moments, creating a lovely aural iridescence. The tension from song to song remains, but the transitions are less jarring, more fluid.
The best example of this resides in the dual closing coda of “We are Water” and “In Violet.” The first songs opens in a glorious blast of restrained ruckus before it crescendos in a surprising hush. That hush blooms into the borderline-balladry of the second, whose clipped riffs and blips play like a sinister lullaby. Other highlights include the menacing dance loops of first single “Die Slow” (which contains the closest thing the band has had yet to an actual chorus) and the euphoric electro-savagery of “Before Tigers,” which has already been foreshadowed as a potential club monster by remixer du jour CFCF.
By subtly expanding their palette while adding a new shine to previous shades of their sound, on Get Color HEALTH have successfully created a more inviting doorway to their world. Casual listeners may still be too put off by their full-frontal guitar assaults to embrace the invitation, but those that are trusting enough will have their eyes and ears open to an undeniably seductive and rewarding experience.