Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Unsane - Lambhouse: The Collection 1991 - 1998

Label: Relapse
Year: 2003

Here's a "greatest hits" collection that Relapse Records decided to put out culling output from all of Unsane's studio records up to that point. There's a DVD as well, but you'll have to shell out the cash for that one.

If you don't know Unsane, and I'm not sure how you could be at this place on the internet, and not know them, but just in case you're someones mother checking out 'Lil Bobby's bookmarks, Unsane are the epitome of "noise rock". They craft deceptively simple songs that rely primarily on heavy, rolling bass lines with shards of guitar slicing across the song, pounding drums, and the omnipresent, slightly over driven vocal shouting of guitarist/vocalist/constant member Chris Spencer. They are from the same scene as contemporaries Helmet, Copshootcop, Pussy Galore, Loudseaker, Surgery, Action Swingers, Swans, and on and on. They refuse to play music that does not aurally bludgeon with relentless power and heft. They have a sound that has been aped by lesser bands, but no one ever manages to sound like Unsane. There mom, you got it? When I said they were like Action Swingers, did that drive it home for you? Lord knows, if you don't have a clue about Unsane, you sure as shit ain't gonna know Action Swingers.

The bottom line though is this: Unsane are a great band, and they excel at doing one thing very well. Their records are of a remarkably consistent quality (even the new ones), and their live shows are always of a high caliber in terms of volume, intensity, and punishment. They're good, but I've always been of the opinion that you can own one Unsane record, and you pretty much "got it". You can see Unsane play once and you pretty much have seen Unsane as many times as you need to. They seldom deviate from the formula, and while it's comforting to know that there's a band out there destroying themselves in this way for your benefit, and you have to respect their dedication to perfecting "that song", you can also check in and out of their career without missing much. Hence, and "greatest hits" isn't a bad way to wrap it all up in the Ipod world. 

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