Super Unison’s Auto Absolutely Destroys
I would classify very few records I hear as “badass,” but Super Unison‘s latest release, Auto, is exactly that. Starting with dueling feedback and messy riffs, Auto is the punk album that will define this decade of the genre (much like what Refused’s The Shape of Punk to Come did in the late 90s). The album is loud, noisy, and absolutely addicting.
The album begins with “Prove Yourself”–a track that kicks the album off right with its driving percussion and unrelenting vocals. “Prove Yourself” acts like a microcosm to the album. Flashing between midtempo brooding and jangling and messy riffs, between high-pitched cries and snarling, “Prove Yourself” fully inhabits the aesthetic of the album.
The lack of aesthetic shifts in Auto work to create a accumulative power. Each song tears through its parts with an astronomical amount of energy, but when taken together in the album, the songs gain even more urgency. Following “Prove Yourself,” “Keeper” has more at stake, and more to work with. And so on through the album. It’s rare that a band is able to create songs that are both individually powerful and collectively powerful, but Super Unison has done just that.
This quality comes, in part, from the openness the album has. Whereas most albums direct their listener (start at track one and end on track twelve), Auto seems to say start anywhere and work through these tracks. In some ways, all the songs on Auto sustain an equal amount of energy that, when sustained over 31 minutes shifts and roils in the best ways.
That said, I find myself coming back to “Luxury.” The track is built from manic drums and angular riffs. With lyrics that have some fantastic moments (“Our future is our lingerie”), “Luxury” is a new and completely un-didactic critique of consumerism.
And this might be another part of the album’s power. Super Unison’s music seems to have a purpose, but that purpose isn’t marred by sloganism or platitudes. Their aural fracas has the savvy of The Blood Brothers or Bob Dylan and the cleveriness of internet culture. In this way, Super Unison’s utterances (musical, lyrical) come across as genuine, and heartfelt–even as their vocalist shreds through her phrasings.
The album ends with its title track, a massive (almost 5 minute) invective. Whether “Auto” is the apex of the tracks that came before it or singularly overpowering, the song has a drive that is unmatched by anything pressed in recent memory. Furious and unrestrained, “Auto” is the perfect summation of the album.
Auto has a kick to it that is masterfully uncontrolled. I cannot think of an album that better encapsulates most of America’s collective frustration at politics, social institutions, economic situations, and everything else in the zeitgeist. 2016 is an election year; corpse flowers are blooming; Super Unison’s Auto is thrashing its way through the static.