Preoccupations have shed their claws. ‘New Material’ showed a band shifting to more melody than the aggressive bite of debut ‘Viet Cong’. And with their fourth album, ‘Arrangements’, the transformation is complete. It can, at times, feel like they’re channelling the bands formed in Interpol’s image - Editors, White Lies and the like; always one step removed from the source material. It’s most acutely felt on openers ‘Fix Bayonets!’ and ‘Ricochet’. While compellingly full of the angst we’ve come to expect, they feel lacking in new ideas. ‘Ricochet’ even seems to pull directly from Blue Öyster Cult. But once over that initial hump, ‘Arrangements’ hits a stride. Cryptic, defeated, and thrillingly oppressive, ‘Advisor’ blooms over its almost eight-minute runtime like a corrupted rose. Guitars fold in on themselves, frontman Matt Flegel lost in the whirlwind. ‘Recalibrate’ takes their evolution to its extreme, with a glittering synth arpeggio that seems to really hammer home this isn’t the new Preoccupations. With Holy Fuck’s Graham Walsh behind the desks, it gives them the confidence to really lean in to something new. It takes a while for Preoccupations to find their new groove on ‘Arrangements’. But, when they hit that stride in the latter half, it’s a terrific one.
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