By the end of their career Unwound were whispering their disgruntled musings over sinewy guitar lines into a bucket of lo-fi, but they initially skewered a far more hardcore sound, screaming and yelping their baby nihilism over crashing instruments and repeated noise bulletins. Fake Train proves it and Numero Group have reissued this piece of pissy brilliance for proof. If you didn't know by now: there are classics at either end of this band's discography.
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- Fake Train by Unwound
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This is the record seminal noise rock uber-darlings made when they were toddlers -- kicking and screaming they went against the world, making angular punk music like kids sent to their room over a tantrum. The feedback was meaner, the endlessly repeating riffs more pronounced in their grinding distaste, and Justin Trosper actually screamed. A lot. Essentially this can be summed up as the asshole child Unwound to the disenfranchised, nihilistically mumbling Unwound of ‘Civilised Society’ and ‘Leaves Turn Inside You’.
Which is better? Depends if you want your ears kicked and punched at or quietly reproached. ‘Fake Train’ does the former with aplomb, Trosper constantly interrupting his own riffs with sharp bouts of feedback that spread wide over the band’s communal screams and dissonant breakdowns. Sarah Lund has apparently criticised her own drumming on the record, but her sloppy approach here sounds brilliant coupled with a similarly angrily misinformed band -- the grumbling riff of “Nervous Energy” is constantly erupting in a climax and then falling back into decay, and Lund’s steady, lazy-sounding drums perfectly steady the bubbling anger.
This era of Unwound is the least melodic you’re gonna hear them, with harmonics hard and fret-movements irresponsible, but there is the occasional crack of light from Trosper’s playing -- occasionally, after a fair bit of shouting and stammering, he finds a prettier two-note riff to repeat into oblivion. It’s the harshness, though, and the way these discordant tone bursts cover over the niceness with complete disdain, that best sums up the Unwound of 1993. They were feeling pissed of and wanted you to feel it too, where in future years they merely felt defeated as you passed by.
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