Disappears photo by Peter Rea

Disappears photo by Peter Rea


There’s a crazy amount of great gigs to choose from in Manchester this month. Just tonight, there are two other bands that I would’ve also liked to have seen, but my fondness for Disappears’ 2012 album Pre-Language was enough to lure me to the Soup Kitchen basement. Amongst the various forms of alternative rock that I’ve been filling my ears with of late, this Chicago 4-piece has remained a regular in my playlist, necessitating the need for a regular fix to fend off withdrawal symptoms.

Werk support, and very much deserve a mention. You may have heard them play if you were in the area during their set. As I enter the venue, the drummer is creating a smashed glass sound by hitting a broken cymbal that sits on top of a floor tom while the guitarist experiments with continuous thrashed chords and the synth player reads from a book. I admit to occasional thinking – what the hell are they doing?, but then it kind of just clicks into place. Disappears guitarist Jonathan Van Herik congratulates them for their performance, which ends with the guitarist screaming inaudible words into a microphone while standing on the kick drum.

This years’ album Irreal sees Disappears move back towards the extended minimal Kraut Rock experimentation of 2011 album Guider, following the more rounded and instantly accessible garage tunes of Pre-Language. The understated ‘Another Thought’ serves as a moody intro, which is followed by the stop-start beat and ringing guitar sounds of ‘Joa’. The audience pay full attention throughout, occasionally stomping their feet and moving their shoulders enough to classify it as dancing, as waves of chords, Brian Case’s vocals, and largely one note baselines, drag us gradually into a sea of additive beats and shimmering riffs.

Brian occasionally reminds me of Mark E. Smith in his vocal style, feeding us lyrics one or two words at a time, as if each is equally as precious as the last. General monotony is occasionally and thrillingly interrupted by a slightly different drum beat, or a different note on the bass, or a quick slash of guitar strings. Nothing too dramatic, but the sound that they create is so absorbing that these anomalies become magnified in effect. ‘Halcyon’ is a highlight – it seemed to go on forever, but i was still disappointed when it ended.

Disappears acquire your full attention in a seemingly effortless fashion, and still manage to leave you wanting more. Just as many would assume it easy to create minimal abstract works of art, only to find it incredibly difficult – this band are the sonic equivalent.

Disappears  Official | Facebook | Twitter

Peter Rea

I like to go see fresh new music at Manchester's superb selection of smaller venues, and then share my enthusiasm.