He should be. DISCO4:: PART II feels not just like a significant chapter for HEALTH, but also massive in the world of alternative music. While it sees them assume their own identity and assert their purpose more than ever before, it also marks the band out as one of the most important in this relatively new post-genre landscape we exist in. Not that that was ever their intention. Having released a series of remix companion records between 2008 and 2021 with the DISCO title – hence DISCO4 – they were just looking for something different to do, simply because they’re not a band that likes to settle or rest on their laurels. They’re constantly restless, inspired, excited to try new things.
“When we started with those companion albums,” Jake explains, “there was an incredibly fertile remix culture. It was a very exciting and galvanising time for that form of music. But that’s not so much the case now, so we were just sort of exploring and wondered about doing a collaboration record instead. We really had no way to take the depth of what it would be like to do that, but we discovered when we started doing it that it was really fun and rewarding. We’ve always made a point of trying to make, if not a sea change shift, then a very significant aesthetic and production shift with every record – and we have enough anonymity and weirdness to us that, for better or worse, we can experiment like that.”
All of which is to say that HEALTH are a band on the absolute cutting edge of music – not rock, not punk, not rap, not metal, not EDM, not whatever, but music itself. In fact, it’s not too much to say that they’re at the forefront of some kind of as-yet-undefined musical revolution, helping to boldly take music to places it’s never been before. Put that to Jake, however, and – humble, modest guy he is – he immediately refutes it.
“I wouldn't go so far as to have the hubris to call us barometers or arbiters of taste,” he says. “But I think that if we have a strong suit, it would be on our shortlist of attributes that we have that we’re just very avid listeners of music. We're just happy to find ourselves be a part of it all. I have no specific, overwhelming talents. I'm not a great singer. I'm not a great guitar player. I'm not a critic. We're not a good enough band for it to be like, 'Oh, I'll just high-five God, we just plug in and fucking magic comes out.”
Don’t listen to him. What HEALTH have done with this album is shake things up – perhaps more than any band has in a long time. They’ve looked beyond themselves, both into the scene around them and the current void of humanity and crafted the perfect soundtrack for it. It’s not pretty, but it’s very, very real.
DISCO4:: PART II is released April 8 via Concord
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