The cover art for The Lower Way. Credit: Courtesy the Artist

Over the past dozen years, White Suns have created a perfect marriage of folding-table harsh noise and streamlined punk, and the New York trio’s latest full-length, The Lower Way (their first for Decoherence Records), asserts their hybrid style more strongly than ever. By layering assaultive electronics, circuit-bent synths, atonal prepared guitars, fried stomp boxes, musique concrète collages, tortured vocal caterwauling, and minimal scrap-metal plinking, the band make an aching, disorienting, eerie mess of noise. White Suns hold it all down with slamming drums and straightforward rhythms—which not only work as an anchor to keep you from getting completely lost in the sauce but also give the tracks a bit of rock-song accessibility, making these mind-bending, boundary-obliterating experiments almost catchy. OK, maybe “catchy” is pushing it, but it’s not every day that you find yourself bobbing your head or tapping your foot to white-hot power-electronics squall. The Lower Way is by no means a good time—you can expect to finish the album feeling worn out, and with your ears ringing if you’re playing it properly loud—but the catharsis White Suns create with this punishment makes it worth the journey.   v