Review Summary: No Wave - II“You’ve spent your life where you’ve spat.”
Such is the dismal point behind the woozy hostile wallop of UT’s 1985 “Confidential.”
The New York no wavers had been kicking around the city’s club circuit since 1978, already pushing punk, still fresh-faced and nascent in its first coming, into the dingiest desecrationist corners detuned guitars could go.
It’d take four years before they were given a label and a chance to record. If there was ever a period where the trio were gestating their heretic vision, it’d be hard to tell. It was as if they’d sprung from the Bowery into London, fully-formed and itching to dissemble.
Full of odd breaks and simmering bedlam, UT made demanding, intimidating punk. Their songs were longer and fuller than the smash-and-grab schisms of other prominent no wavers like DNA and Mars. Cresting and gorging, at 15 minutes long, the EP was only marginally shorter than most full-lengths that the fringe was pumping out.
In that decade of evil fertility, amid restless movement, tours with The Birthday Party and The Fall, countless Peel sets and and an avant-garde short film or two, the band managed to put out three excellent albums and two EP’s.
No Wave would come and go and come again, and by now, in the right punk circles, names like James Chance and Lydia Lunch are as pervasive as Iggy Pop or Patti Smith. But no one has sounded like this before or since. No one had shotgun-married into punk - drone, twee, atonal and a dozen other modalities so seamlessly and so elegantly, and then somehow made it all sound so ungodly.