2014 will be remembered as the year that actually got me excited about extreme music again. I haven’t exactly been bored, but it seems like this year I’m finding so many exciting young bands that are doing something truly interesting within the genre paradigm. One such band is Austin’s Street Sects, who are releasing the second part of their “serial album” in the form of Broken Windows, Sunken Ceilings. The duo creates what can best be described as electronic hardcore; violent, jarring and noisy as hell, like a factory full of automated machinery going haywire and collapsing on itself, the machines still trying desperately to function however imperfectly amidst the burning wreckage.
The music is a brutal, pulverizing racket, and yet there is structure within the carnage. It might feel at first like they’re letting the throat-destroying screams and pummeling beats flail in all directions, but as one begins to acclimate to Street Sects’ highly unorthodox sound, the cruel, unforgiving precision behind what they’re doing starts to become apparent. In just three tracks totaling out to seven minutes of music, Street Sects make you feel like your ears have been meticulously scrubbed bloody with steel wool.
The sound of the EP is appropriately synthetic, with everything coated in layers of distortion that often threaten to engulf the music in white noise. The atmosphere is oppressive, pummeling you into the ground with a barrage of noises that sound familiar yet utterly alien, twisted and contorted until they form songs. Imagine all the shitty things in life that beat you down mentally/emotionally/spiritually, now imagine those things multiplied by a million and pumped directly into your brain at an accelerated rate; this is the sound of Broken Windows, Sunken Ceilings.
Indeed, this is a whirlwind of digital decimation that feels a lot longer than it actually is thanks to Street Sects’ ability to cram so much detail into compact yet thoroughly compelling songs. It’s impressive that the band is able to pull you so fully into their world with such a short release and I look forward to the completion of this “serial album” so that I can be even more fully immersed. If you’re an open-minded listener looking for a highly original take on aural extremity, don’t sleep on Street Sects.