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More Than Noise: HEALTH

Among the burgeoning music scene bubbling just under the surface in Los Angeles, HEALTH have found their niche in the mass market with artfully crafted noise rock, raw synth and haunting monotone vocals. Their live show can only be described as explosive, energetic, and sometimes chaotic.

Centered upon the notoriety of the famous alternative noise rock scene, the quartet solidified their place as one of LA’s most seminal bands over three years ago, playing free all-ages shows to fans and newcomers alike – anyone and everyone eager to lose themselves within the band’s volatile sounds.
Members Benjamin Jared Miller, Jake Duzsik, John Famiglietti and Jupiter Keyes have a strong connection and a seeming attachment to DIY roots. Although they were criticised following their 2007 self-titled debut as being too pre-occupied with developing their distinct image and style rather than creating music, the album saw the quartet excel at dramatic percussion and often hauntingly ghost-like vocals, with an evident focus on emulating their noise rock predecessors.

HEALTH’s initial impact may have only been felt within a select niche market but it was those fans that helped them prosper and thrive as a young band. With the release of Crystal Castle’s popular remix to the HEALTH song “Crimewave,” it was only a matter of time before the little known LA band began to gain traction within a wider musical audience, earning recognition as a promising force pushing the boundaries – and one certainly worth noting.

Over the twelve months following the release of their debut, the band became heavily entranced with dance electro music and made the bold decision to release their own remixed version of HEALTH. Titled HEALTH//DISCO, the record enabled the band to once again extend their appeal, opening them up to an entirely new ‘blog audience’. With each song becoming more fascinating upon each subsequent listen, its release marked the beginning of the band’s maturity and growth within their previously unexplored range, not once slipping into complacency or monotony.

In HEALTH’s 2009 album, Get Color, the band returns once more to producing original music, thereby amplifying their developed skill as songwriters and composers. Whereas their first release struggled to appeal to typical mainstream audiences, Get Color has definition and character, succeeding in what is widely agreed as their strongest effort to date. The tracks are full of emotion and heart, they are more discernable as individual songs, and for the most part, they are no longer simply noise. While still evidently experimental, the songs harbour stronger melodies and characteristics that can be found within traditional songwriting structures, proving that HEALTH are far beyond a band with simply good fashion sense.

Whether it’s the result of their mixed-genre collaborations and remixes, relentless touring or plain hard work, HEALTH have clearly identified their core sound and fundamentally what they’re best at – verbose soundscapes drenched in razor sharp chaos.

HEALTH are playing their only Sydney show this Friday at Oxford Art Factory alongside local favourites Royal Headache. Tickets are only $26 and are on sale now through Moshtix.

words: Jacinda Fermanis


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