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UNSANE – Visqueen (CD, Ipecac Recordings)

Posted: May 5th, 2007, by JGRAM

I think it is unlikely that there will be a nastier sounding record released in 2007 than Visqueen, the 6th album by New York’s Unsane. Featuring an album cover that features a dead body wrapped in cellophane and dumped in a New Jersey swamp (supposedly), it is a suitably blood splattered affair that keeps in line with both previous album covers and the sheer weight and sound of an Unsane record.

With a track record that includes deceased ex-band members (unlike the Dwarves), acceptance into the heart of the skate punk community and a support slot with Slayer amongst their achievements, Unsane are a band that have managed to hold onto their indie credibility whilst maintaining crossover respect and remaining a serious proposition being one of the original gnarly (and remaining) propositions to come from the AmpRep legacy (once almost a genre in itself).

Following up the, in my opinion, career best album “Blood Run” this is most definitely an Unsane album, a sound pretty unique to themselves that I cannot delude myself when I would have to make the admission that it is a record tough to distinguish from the remainder of the Unsane back catalogue. And this is perhaps what explains the lack of fanfare attached to this release.

Unsane circa now though I feel really finds them at the height of their powers. Better than ever the recorded sound captures their power than all their original indie albums combined. The pulsing intimidating rhythms have always been present but now more so than ever does it represent an emotion/soundtrack to what I would imagine the sensation of riding a New York subway at the height of intimidation and unease. And as ever Chris Spencer delivers his terrifying wail in the style of Noddy Holder distorted on a killing spree, busking a dustcart sound of a guitar in accompaniment. The jolt of energy and emotion I experience when listening to Unsane easily matches that of many, more respected noises in the general vicinity of The Jesus Lizard and other true American noise heroes, often far surpassing the fraudulent feeble latecomers to the scene.

Of the tracks on offer here the opener “Against The Grain” sets the tone perfectly with a menacing noir while the sound effect driven “East Broadway” bookends the album in a typically Unsane cinematically way. In between tracks with titles such as “Last Man Standing”, “Disdain” and “Only Pain” perfectly describe the horror on offer while “This Stops At The River” sees the record at its snarling best. This is a proposition that could produce depression, migraine and nausea out of the best of us.

Thesaurus moment: coercion.

Ipecac Recordings


JGram, friend of the stars, chartered accountant and pie enthusiast, likes nothing better than KICKING YOUR SKINNY ASS by way of a carefully-timed half-nelson followed by the CLOTHES LINE! OW! So never, never cross him. His dog Snowy is equally rockhard and will bite your lim bs off in the blink of an eye. And then paw your eyes out for blinking when he's biting you.

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