Review: Untied States – Instant Everything, Constant Nothing

You would think that if an American indie act called itself Untied States, it would be for the purpose of mocking politicians. The source, however, is “a brief encounter with a heightened sense of dyslexia”. In fact, on the evidence of their fourth album, their music is as far removed from political commentary as you can get.

‘Gorilla The Bull’ is chiefly noteworthy for its combination of grunge, post-punk and Colin Arnstein’s blood curdling vocals. It contains melody but only of a very off-kilter variety. It’s also a excellent beginning to one of the most original records you could hear this year. ‘Not Fences, Mere Masks’ is propelled by urgent riffs seemingly beamed in from a futuristic emergency services department, before the song collapses in to a heap as each wall of sound comes crashing down. ‘Unsilvered Mirrors’ continues the drama; possibly the darkest and most deeply satisfying track on here and it possesses devlishly good hooks amidst the chaos.

So far so brilliant, coupled with the uneasy impression that if the songs were played backwards, they might make more sense. However, fifty minutes of such subversion is a lot to take and as much as I enjoyed the maddening art punk of ‘Take Time For Always’ or the charming lo-fi  of ‘Holding Up Walls’, I felt my brain had been tampered with by the time the CD had stopped spinning.

The main flaw to ‘Instant Everything…’ is that it is extremely disorientating as a listening experience. The dissonant layers of sounds switch from speaker to speaker with barely a pause for breath as if there’s almost too much invention on show. Suffice to say to say, experimental rock doesn’t get any more experimental than this.

Web Sites:
Untied States Official Site
Untied States MySpace

Further Listening:
HIJK, State Shirt, The Umbrella Sequence


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