Genres: Post-Hardcore, Noise Rock
When people bring up the post-hardcore genre, the first bands that usually spring up in people’s minds might be those along the likes of Fugazi, Husker Du, Big Black, Drive Like Jehu or mclusky. But the first name that always pops up in my mind is always “Unwound”. Running rampant through the 90’s with classic album after classic album, people have always been torn up about which one is their best. Could it possibly be the mellow, math rock-influenced tendencies of New Plastic Ideas? Perhaps the sharp, angular, memorable melodies of Leaves Turn Inside You? Or perhaps the loud, brash, anxious sound of Repetition? While all these Unwound fans flaunt their superior albums, I have always seemed to be in the minority when it comes to their debut album.
Whereas all of their other albums are usually defended with as much keyboard warrior battle that is necessary, it always appears as though no-one bats an eye towards their self-titled (which was meant to be their debut by the way, but was then held off for later release). I believe that this is truly their greatest album and I know that by saying that, I have basically summoned a legion of butt-hurt Unwound fans right to my doorstep but I truly believe that this could really be their greatest endeavour.
When I picture what pure, raw punk sounds like, I always think of this album of the greatest example of that. This album is unrelenting when it comes to it’s pace, barely ever losing a step in its bare, raw ferocity and when we do get to more down tempo, more slow-paced tracks like “Stuck in the Middle of Nowhere Again” and “Fingertips”, it always is just to build back up to that unrelenting pace that is spread across the entire album. Building back up to those crazy, memorable, energetic songs like “Warmth” and “You Bite My Tongue”. Just from the first half of the first track “Antifreeze”, you can tell you’re in a wild, fast ride.
Another great thing about this album is how concise and straight-forward it is. Coming into this album, Unwound knew what they wanted to do, and that was to make a kick-ass album, and it all goes for under 30 minutes, the usual length of an LP. No song on here feels like it overstays its welcome, with the longest track on here only being about three and a half minutes long. I will admit though, disappointingly, the last track on here, “Kandy Korn Rituals”, is easily the worst on this entire thing, which is sad as a closer should usually end up being one of the BEST songs on your album. Instead of ending the album on a last, great “Huzzah!”, it sort of just… Ends… Yeah… Pretty disappointing…
All in all, Unwound’s self titled is a seriously great, under-rated title and a hidden gem of the post-hardcore genre that not enough people know about and appreciate. Check it out if you haven’t already, it’s only under half an hour, so what do you have to lose?