Unwound
New Plastic Ideas


4.0
excellent

Review

by USER (41 Reviews)
May 17th, 2008 | 33 replies


Release Date: 1994 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Unwound at their most fractured, noisy and abrasive, and for that it’s definitely worth something

More often than not, critics like to claim certain bands with certain distinguishable titles. I think there’s a reason for Unwound to be given the prestigious title- as one, if not the most nosiest and dynamic groups on Kill Rock Stars; proving to be the label's first flag-ship bands. Perhaps the 1994 effort “New Plastic Ideas” is clear and almost pummeling evidence to this claim, encapsulating the dense and crushing power chords that lead to rising mounds of feedback only to come back around to a song structure- a sound that led to be their trademark up to this point. And while this might not be a truly original approach undertaken, the rare energetic flair that accompanied it was breathtaking; rivaling even that of, coincidentally, many Dischord bands that relied on heavy rhythms and instrumental serenity.

And so with the release of New Plastic Ideas, Unwound were at a point in their dynamic career where they were evolving to a sound more cinematic, more discordant than the thrashing and brooding direction of the music they were originally taking. Still, the atmosphere created here is a mix of both constant murkiness mixed with a pummeling ferocity unrivaled. Still, much of the album features Unwound at their messiest and angriest, not to mention their loudest. Not only is the band exceptionally tight, New Plastic Ideas is a showcase for the anguish of Justin Trosper vocal style, and Sara Lund’s sporadic but extremely tight drumming. Trosper’s anguish is clearly reflected in the lyrics “it's a /shattered day all around/it's a shattered day in our town/seems wrong/it's a Saturday all the time/it's a Saturday once again” showing us once again the cryptic fashion in which Trosper approaches his song-writing. The distressed yelps of “hex on you, what a shame” really add a passion to Trosper’s otherwise subdued vocals.

Much of the time, a layer of noise rises to swallow the melodies, but underneath the jagged and rugged layers of noise lays a conventional song template akin to verse-chorus-verse. “Entirely Different Matters” dissolves into a verse-chorus-verse structure beneath chugging guitars and rumbling-yet-sophisticated bass lines. Much like Fugazi, the success of an Unwound song is heavily placed on the shoulders of the bassist Vern Rumsey, and in traditional fashion Vern Rumsey helps carry many of the songs here. It seems, however, that Unwound haven’t added the right amount of sheen and shine to the sound they were wishing to achieve here; many of the soothing tracks suffer from a sludgy execution (whether this was intentional remains to be seen). Moments where the sludginess works for the betterment include the slow “Envelope” which gradually coalesces into a passage of rising guitars, taking cues from the traditional format of crescendos and incorporating it. And while the blending of dynamics ranging from Sonic Youth, John Cage and Fugazi isn't quite there yet, the raucous passages and the rhythmic virtuosity is combined quite well. This can be seen in the album’s highlight “All Souls Day”, which is, hands down, among the noisiest and breathtaking songs ever written by Unwound. The aforementioned Sara Lund contributes greatly on here as her drumming is controlled and then suddenly breaks loose in a fury of guitar bursts; adding strength to the abrasive train-wreck.

Beautiful arrangements that would be seen in the future are further epitomized in the beauteous “Abstraktions”, making for the perfect candidate to help you go to sleep (in a good way, of course). The guitars are controlled, balancing the bass along the way throughout the 7-minute piece, never allowing any of the instruments overpower each other; not quite an easy feat.

New Plastic Ideas can be perceived as the band’s first real attempt to create their own brand of noise drenched songs, but it also features the band’s most succinctly focused song structures. Compared to their more epic and technical endeavors in the future, New Plastic Ideas can hardly be considered as an artistic project, but in the grand scheme of things proves to be a transition for the band; moving to a darker and more cryptic style while still maintaining the underlying dissonance that would continue to be encompassed in the band’s sound. After this point the band would go and venture into more expansive and exploratory and lengthy compositions; a venture that fruitfully yielded breath taking results. But for what it’s worth, for a single moment in time, New Plastic Ideas is Unwound at their most fragmented, noisy and abrasive, and for that it’s definitely worth something.



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user ratings (137)
Chart.
4.1
excellent
other reviews of this album
YoYoMancuso (4)
New Plastic Ideas is a punishing record with a solid foundation and a powerful effect on those who c...

Boddah (4.5)
An exceptionally solid album, and a good place to start for those new to Unwound....


Comments:Add a Comment 
Neoteric
April 9th 2008


3243 Comments


nice.

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
April 9th 2008


15737 Comments


I'm looking for leaves turn inside you hard right now.

Great review


Digging: Ricky Eat Acid - Three Love Songs

Mikesn
Emeritus
April 9th 2008


3709 Comments


sounds good, nice job

rasputin
April 9th 2008


14544 Comments


nice review, looks interesting

cursestar
June 24th 2008


4 Comments


you stupid asshole. you aren't the only person who reads AMG, you know.

this isn't even a direct copy. you've just basically taken the review and made it, um, less concise. how about writing something yourself you goddamn hack.

Bron-Yr-Aur
February 10th 2009


4405 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

lol

i like this alot man yeah

gaslightanthem
February 10th 2009


5209 Comments


hahahaha
yeah this is awesome

gaslightanthem
February 10th 2009


5209 Comments


wtf my rating had disappeared from this, what is it with this site and randomly losing some ratings ?

Bron-Yr-Aur
February 10th 2009


4405 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

quit rating things

gaslightanthem
February 10th 2009


5209 Comments


like u that wuld be cool ya

Bron-Yr-Aur
February 10th 2009


4405 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i'll kill you

gaslightanthem
February 10th 2009


5209 Comments


u better run 4 your life i'd whip your dumbassThis Message Edited On 02.10.09

SeaAnemone
May 20th 2011


20304 Comments


it's disgustingly hard to try and choose which Unwound I like best

Digging: Holy Sons - Lost Decade II

trix4dix
May 24th 2012


343 Comments


so good ugh fuck how good this band is

porch
June 10th 2013


8460 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

this is creeping up my list of fave unwound albums, been listening a lot

WeepingBanana
August 19th 2013


10145 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

on like my 4th listen of this and it's unfolding just as beautifully as LTIY only it just rocks harder

TheNexus100
September 15th 2013


2525 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this is so good

Digging: Carrion Spring - A Short History of Decay

YoYoMancuso
October 5th 2013


11080 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this destroys

DrHouseSchuldiner
October 5th 2013


5643 Comments


^hard

Gwyn.
October 5th 2013


15092 Comments


Entirely Different Matters



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