Unsane is one of the most consistent bands I've ever heard. In over twenty years, they haven't released one weak album, there hasn't been one faux pas. They've maintained an almost Germanic regularity, and moreover, in all this time, they've made an art of getting the most out of a very limited and predictable sound formula, old- school noise-rock, strict and bloody like many of their record sleeves, which band alma mater Chris Spencer has managed to keep fresh and strong. That's precisely the reason why one wouldn't say that there's been a five-year gap between their previous album “Visqueen” and their new LP “Wreck”. Unsane continues to sound like Unsane; the passing of time and the changing of the winds have as much influence on their music as a hostile audience has on Drazen Petrovic's playing.
When opening track “Rat” starts, it takes not one minute to recognise the sound. The razor-sharp guitar, the distorted bass, the hammering drums and Spencer's hysterical voice make the re-encounter effortless, like when you meet an old friend after a long time and you need but one joke to reconnect. Everything's in the right place: the different intensities, the odd spontaneous solo, and the trademark abrupt endings. Hell, they even have a laugh at themselves, like the harmonica on “No Chance”, seemingly a deliberate copy of the one on “Alleged”, which has become somewhat of an involuntary trademark, adding a bit of colour and irony to their sound.
Unlike their last albums, especially “Blood Run” and “Visqueen”, which showed a certain restlessness and formal preoccupation, production-wise “Wreck” is as rugged and crude as “Scattered, Smothered & Covered”. It's a conscious return to the New York gutters (check out the track titles: “Rat”, “Pigeon”, “Roach”, “Metropolis”), where the imperfections and the dirty, degraded sound gives the music a more urgent, intimidating and abrasive air. With the exception of “Stuck”, an odd, curious mid-tempo track that lasts almost seven minutes, the album gets right to the point, with conventional structures, well-placed choruses and a uniform tempo helping to cement their wall of sound. It's not their best album, but it's definitely the best one Unsane can give us in 2012. The trip hammer hasn't lost any steam.