Review Summary: Unsane deliver a vehement blast from the past
It’s without hesitation that I say the early 1990’s are my favorite epoch of music. Even without experiencing it firsthand, the audaciousness of emotive slash gritty rock concoction is too much to resist when performed with such exuberance by acts like Unwound, Sonic Youth, The Jesus Lizard, among a myriad of others. Unsane, with their no holds barred brand of noise rock, was an aggressive indictment of everything soft, smooth, and clean fit well within this niche and even helped to define it to some extent. Wreck
proves that they still are, as well.
The fact that Unsane was such a juggernaut throughout the nineties only makes the fact that they’re alive and kicking (violently, mind you) today all the more impressive. Furthermore, Wreck
doesn’t just evoke or rekindle the vicious post-hardcore-cum-noise style, but it brings it back to life and implements it in a way that makes Unsane just as relevant today as they used to be. The beauty of Wreck
is the convincingness of every element, most notably Chris Spencer’s yells and snarls which are most vehement on highlights like the muffled “Pigeon” or the dicey “Decay.”
While not as cacophonous and claustrophobically crushing as 2005’s Blood Run
, the band’s latest flows without hinderance while remaining as vicious as always. Tracks like “No Chance” and “Roach” are minor slip-ups as Unsane seem to be running low on energy; but the thick bass and pounding drums manage to keep Wreck
moving throughout, reaching an apex on the insane “Don’t” with its rash blend of distortion and howls. It’s far from harmonious, yet very satisfying. Additionally, the closing cover of Flipper’s “Ha Ha Ha,” couldn’t be more fitting; it serves as both a callback and a relevant piece of the album, melding the two eras together with ease.
It’s especially convenient that Unsane decided to deliver a record at this point in time, with noise revivalists gaining more and more exposure by the month. Torchbearers of the genre like The Men, Iceage, Pissed Jeans, and Drunkdriver have all put rather interesting spins on the sound that Unsane helped to pioneer, but none have topped records like the monumental one adorned with a victim run over by a train. Wreck
, with its unrelenting dynamism and sheer intensity, is a reminder as to why Unsane and company have torchbearers in the first place. Wreck
won’t be the record that defines Unsane -and it shouldn’t, especially considering their self-titled- but it is a record that adds yet another notch to the still-illustrious belt of noise rock’s reliable workhorse.