Einstürzende Neubauten, electro, the Jesus and Mary Chain, minimal techno, Suicide, Iannis Xenakis, and electric Miles—what a list, right? Not only is Through the Panama, Sightings’ sixth album since 2002, a post-everything fusion of
all these jammers, it’s a new form of modern rock. Thirty years from now, stoned heads will worship this static-soaked slab like some kind of White Light/White Heat for the age of melted polar icecaps.
That’s serious hyperbole, no doubt about it. But it’s been years (Six Finger Satellite’s Severe Exposure in 1995?) since an underground rock band has dropped an album this heavy, noisy, experimental, and . . . catchy. For years, Sightings were considered the scuzz-rock stepchildren of New York—far more difficult even than the mercurial Gang Gang Dance. But the group has now caught up with Liars and Animal Collective in terms of transforming extreme sounds into barbed hooks and power-drill dance grooves; producer Andrew W.K. (remember him?) deserves a lot of the credit, presiding over an immaculately chiseled recording that vibrates with phantom electricity, fourth-dimension overdubs, and knotted texture.
Ultimately, though, success hinges upon singer-guitarist Mark Morgan, bassist Richard Hoffman, and digital drummer Jon Lockie. While these guys breathe fire like a trio of ’50s jazzbos (dig Hoffman’s latticework runs on “Perforated”), they use all that burned oxygen to illuminate a set of deeply gothic compositions boasting more pointed arches and vertical piers than Notre Dame. And if that’s not enough, Sightings even cover a Walker Brothers tune, “The Electrician,” which will have you slowly howling “and kill me and kill me and kill me” for the next six months.