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NYC noise rock gods UNSANE return with a vengeance on their long awaited seventh album "Wreck". It's aggressively inaccessible, a suffocating sonic curb stomp that smashes everything in sight!
Chris Spencer's vocals and lyrics positively ache with fear and loathing (resembling the sound of a man trapped in the New York Subway system) while his searing Telecaster howl and pulverizing chords wreak havoc over Vincent Signorelli's thundering drums and Dave Curran's muscular, thick as lava bass lines.
Recorded by the band and producer Andrew Schneider at Brooklyn's Translator Audio (Shrinebuilder, Keelhaul), the record is an unfettered burst of pent up emotions and frustrations channeled into song and an unflinching glance into a type of life others probably should not lead. From the shock and awe of the LP's lead track "Rat" and the stunningly damaged "Decay" to the doom and gloom of the heavy handed "No Chance" and through to the transcendental brainwork of "Stuck", UNSANE's "Wreck" is darkly abrasive and poetic music delivered with a fearsome intensity. Topping it all off is a twisted cover of the FLIPPER classic "Ha Ha Ha," which, in a nice bit of symmetry,many of us 1st heard on the classic and out-of-print A.T. "Let Them Eat Jellybeans" compilation!
UNSANE celebrates its 20th anniversary by delivering the darkest and most personal record of its celebrated career; "Wreck" is the band's defining moment.
"As anyone who's hung out there in the past decade could tell you, New York's Lower East Side is no longer a scary place. It's the kind of hood where you can chow on designer meatballs, drink Pabst in a neo-dive bar, and catch an artfully rustic indie folk band. Sure, some gritty pockets remain, but it wouldn't even come close to ranking on a list of contemporary NYC's bogeyman areas.
You wouldn't know any of this from listening to Unsane. In the mind of guitarist-frontman Chris Spencer, who moved to the LES along with his bandmates in the late 1980s, the place remains feral, a cesspool of violence (emotional as well as physical), addiction, and alienation that's straight out of Travis Bickle's dystopia...
In 2012, the band's output is a PTSD freeze frame, a protracted rant re: the idea that things simply don't get better. Likewise, Unsane's sound is anti-evolutionary, almost masochistically so. For the past 20-odd years, both in their gruesome album covers (a severed head on the subway tracks, an automobile grille smeared with blood) and their often monosyllabically titled songs, they've explored only shades of grey, with spatterings of red...
If you've heard anything the band has issued since 1995's Scattered, Smothered & Covered-- the record where the current lineup solidified, and arguably the definitive Unsane statement-- you know what you're getting into: ugly yet starkly coherent noise rock, built from just a few elements-- the rumble/thud of bassist Dave Curran and drummer Vincent Signorelli, and Spencer's sneering postindustrial blues riffs and trademark distorted yelp. Just in case you were in doubt about who was responsible, there's a dripping, crimson-stained hand on the cover, not to mention a typewriter font that'll whisk you back to the early 90s, Proust-style...
The LES may have been scrubbed clean, but no one's sanitizing Unsane's hermetic urban nightmare anytime soon."
"It's hard to believe it's been more than 20 years since we first heard NYC noise rockers Unsane, but maybe even harder to believe that their sound, even after 25+ releases, remains relatively unchanged. Wreck offers up another collection of blood splattered, knuckle dragging heaviosity, that sounds just as good as the first time we heard them, via their crushing Sub Pop single, and their still tough to beat self titled debut full length. The math remains the same for the most part, the drums a muscled pummel, the guitars distorted and HEAVY, the bass holding it all together, and Chris Spencer's vox a feral wail. The songs mostly one or two parts, chugging and churning and pounding hypnotically. An exercise in metallic minimalism, a sort of hypno-noiserock. The one change we do notice, is a lot more melody going on, and Spencer's vox a bit softer, and also more melodic. While opener "Rat" is a dead ringer for the Unsane of old, the second track "Decay" ends up sounding almost like Mudhoney, Spencer's vox definitely drifting into Mark Arm territory, with the song offering up some surprisingly melodic broody moodiness. But it suits them. And it's been a while since we've listened to the last few records (we STILL listen to those first few) so those changes may have been creeping up gradually, but they definitely seem more prominent on Wreck. Fear not, Unsane has most definitely NOT gotten soft, the record for the most part is heavy on the headbanging noise rock crush, and any extra melody only makes it go down a little bit easier, but even so, there's plenty of jagged heaviness and head caving noisiness to get stuck in your craw, and do a lot of bloody damage in the process. And be sure and stick around for the closer "Ha Ha Ha", which features Spencer's demonic cackle as the chorus, mirroring Dan Higgs' much less malevolent laughing song, and beyond that, it might be the heaviest, and best of the bunch."