Monday 21 May 2012


My God. My sweet Jesus. I'm not religious, but I almost became so after I confirmed my suspicions: the song on the Max Payne 3 advert IS by HEALTH!

I love HEALTH, I have loved HEALTH for a long time. They're an interesting band. Their earlier stuff is characterised by brutally vigorous drums, crunching, alien-sounding distorted guitars and screeching electronics, topped with faint vocals that float ghostly above all the chaos. It was also characterised by a flagrant, revelling disregard for time signature or normal track dynamics.

Both of their albums, the self-titled HEALTH and their somewhat milder second outing, Get Color, have been turned into remix albums (HEALTH DISCO and HEALTH DISCO 2). This is a clever move as it gets some very good names, Salem and Crystal Castles to name just two, involved in the process of getting HEALTH's name to the masses. This next move is even cleverer.

HEALTH have created hundreds of hours of their gritty, no-frills, balls-out electro/noise/rock for Rockstar's new Max Payne 3. Probably comes as a surprise to many, not least to me, but it's a very smart move: both by Rockstar and HEALTH. It's a benefit for the two. The videogame gets some amazing music; HEALTH gets recognition they'd probably never have imagined. Listen below, if you haven't heard it already.

And if you have heard it already, you know you'll want to listen again.

'Tears' - what a song. It towers above you, distorting and relentless, insanely repetitive but addictively so. Their scratchy bleeps are sheer gems of production, turning what was just a strange Noise band into a fully-fledged, albeit underground (but for how long?), electro-rock band. A lot like HEALTH DISCO 2 track (not a remix), 'USA Boys'.

The crazed drums have gone, but remain strong. They are the heart of the track, played with a thunderous force and augmented electronically so that everything fits nicely, but jumps out at you at the same time. That's not to forget what gave it away for me in the beginning: the vocals. The phantomlike, nearly monotone, slightly altered, quiet and unassuming vocals - these wind in and out of the stamping sounds calmly, with all the minimalist, meditative philosophy of a Zen koan.

I cannot get enough of this song. I want the soundtrack.

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HEALTH on Twitter
HEALTH on Myspace

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