Untied States – Retail Detail

Untied States
Retail Detail

Music can be rather boring at times. For every album that comes along and manages to completely devour our free time, there are innumerably more that beg the question: why was this recorded at all? In light of this, rock is a very fickle genre. It seems anymore that everything being churned out is just another impossibly unimaginative retread of already bland sounds. Luckily, rock is also very malleable and can be changed into something interesting with even the least bit of effort and imagination. Untied States is a band containing these two features in no small amount.

The group sounds like a strange meld of the experimental sounds of U.S. Maple and Jim O’Rourke, the fierce post-hardcore of later Blood Brothers recordings, and the conventional rock of, well, too many bands to name. The result is a deep, frenzied-yet-stable piece of what can be described as nothing else but avant-rock, as pretentious as that may sound. Untied States dodge characterization well enough to evoke odd terminology.

Strewn about Retail Detail, the band’s second full-length, are equal parts abstract, whaa? noise and basic guitar rock features. The two offset each other in a delightfully chaotic way, while a generally simple chord progression and drum beat may be offset by oscillating electronic skronk and other random noises. Wailing guitar feedback accentuates vocals that call to mind a much more vicious and acidic version of Matt Bellamy from Muse. What seems like a grandiose piano-oriented track (“Retail Detail”) is transformed by a quick drumbeat and haunting vocals into a foreboding anthem in just over a minute. “Martyrs Have Nothing to Live For” sounds like the direction the Blood Brothers have been migrating towards over the years (that is, one away from simple, generic hardcore), and it exemplifies the band’s willingness to let convention overtake the experimental every now and again. This is followed by the Liars-esque “You Own Your Own,” a scattered affair, to say the least.

The band doesn’t seem content to dawdle in any one style for any amount of time. Because of this ADD-infused musicianship, the album comes off as messy hodgepodge of raucous sounds, and I could see this turning off a variety of listeners. However, there’s much enjoyment to be had in Retail Detail, and I would recommend it confidently to anyone who who has grown tired of the ordinary.