Album Review: Bring Me The Horizon - Music To Listen To...

Artist: Bring Me The Horizon

Album: Music to listen to~dance to~blaze to~pray to~feed to~sleep to~talk to~grind to~trip to~breathe to~help to~hurt to~scroll to~roll to~love to~hate to~learn Too~plot to~play to~be to~feel to~breed to~sweat to~dream to~hide to~live to~die to~Go to

Genre: Electronic Dance Music / Future Garage / Spoken Word / Progressive House / Glitch / Downtempo / Art Pop

Review by: Karl O’Shea

Just a few days before the end of 2019 and Bring Me The Horizon drop yet another release in what has already been a massive year for the band. Amo proved that the band could experiment with their sound and pull it off with aplomb. Whether you love or hate them, you can’t argue that the gamble has paid off so far. BMTH have taken yet another gamble with Music to listen to… which leans heavily into the more electronic and experimental elements that have been coming further into the fore with each successive release.

A word of warning - this is NOT a rock/metal album.There are no riffs or heavy breakdowns or an abundance of screams. The best way to describe Music to listen to… is as an electronic music collage that’s also kind of a remix album but also a companion piece to Amo. Or if the avant-garde electronic approach of early Art Of Noise was filtered through modern hip-hop and dance styles. Motifs from previous tracks like “in the dark”, “why you gotta kick me when i’m down?” and “i apologise if you feel something” are wildly re-interpreted until they’re nearly unrecognisable. A labyrinthine approach is taken to song structure with the album veering from quiet ambience to danceable beats to glitched-out loops and even spoken word. It’s the sound of musicians running rampant with their craziest ideas and even though it doesn’t pay off on every single track, there’s still enough gold here to warrant at least one full listen.

BMTH’s knack for writing a catchy pop hook is still evident in songs like “¿” featuring Halsey which is probably the most “conventional” track on the entire album. Music to listen to… is stacked with guest artists including YONAKA, Toriel, Happyalone., BEXEY and Lotus Eater. Lotus Eater is the biggest surprise out of all the guests on this album and only feature briefly on what can only be described as a half-minute of metalcore trolling wedged into the 24-minute long “Underground Big {HEADFULOFHYENA}”. This is also the worst track on the album by a wide margin. The collage-style approach simply doesn’t work on this track and well over half of the song is devoted to spoken word rambling by Oli Sykes that aims for profound but ends up sounding indulgent and tedious more than anything else.

The main issue with this album besides the aforementioned track is the lack of editing. Several tracks on here could easily have been several minutes shorter. While this may not be an issue if you’re passively listening, it can be a bit of a slog if you’re focused in on the album. There’s an abundance of auto-tune on a lot of the vocals which is obviously an artistic choice but one that can be quite grating at times. Despite the album title, this music works best as something akin to those “Lo-fi hip-hop beats for studying” playlists on Youtube or as background noise to driving or getting ready to go out for the night. Although I don’t doubt this would be great music to blaze to.

Criticisms aside, Music to listen to… is an interesting if somewhat inessential release. It’s definitely not the worst thing that BMTH have ever released (that would still be Count Your Blessings folks) and there’s enough here to like, especially tracks like “A Devastating Liberation”, “¿” and “like seeing spiders running riot on your lover’s grave”. I doubt if this is indicative of where the group is going next in terms of sound but who knows? If there’s one thing that’s become abundantly clear, we can never predict what these guys are going to do next.

Rating: 6.0 out of 10

Music to listen to… is out now via Sony Music Entertainment UK Limited

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