Health’s most effective songs are barely contained bursts of aural aggression, which is why it feels weird that the restrained “Die Slow” is their best song to date. Health’s three-minute masterpiece has a booming, economical industrial throb surrounded by a nearly pop chorus, providing a strange middle-road between Liars and Nine Inch Nails that no one really knew existed. It’s the sound of Health doing what they always do, yet somehow ending up with a club-ready single.
“Die Slow” is the runaway highlight of Health’s solid sophomore album, Get Color, another album of post-Drum’s Not Dead noise rock from the most daring band from Los Angeles (apologies to No Age). Whereas their self-titled debut (and to a lesser extent, its remixed version, HEALTH//DISCO) had Health looking to make something out of sheets of crackling noise, and succeeding in brief flashes, Get Color wrings moments of broken pop fragility from Health’s sterile sonic meltdowns.
Get Color is more easily accessible than HEALTH, but that’s a matter of relativity. The vocals on the excellent nuclear plant meltdown of “Nice Girls,” the car-crashing “Before Tigers,” the horrorcore of “Eat Flesh” and the annihilating “We Are Water” are actually audible, but it’s not like you can parse out what’s being said. All that’s heard are tortured howls that barely break through the clamor going on around them. The lyrics aren’t really important anyway (and never are with this kind of music), but they add a much-needed organic layer to Health’s sound. In that regard, Health learned from the remix version of their debut, which made the vocals more audible while retaining their lyrical mystery. Throughout Get Color, Health are able to retain their edge while also inviting more listeners in.
After getting quasi written off as Boredoms and Liars lovers with blog-famous friends (No Age, Crystal Castles and Abe Vigoda) rather than a vital new noise-punk outfit, on Get Color Health hit upon a noise that’s all their own. If they make the kind of leap between albums two and three that they did between one and two, Health’s third album should be nothing short of spectacular.