Recording information: Kutch 1 Studios, Brooklyn, NY (2016).
Photographer: Cheryl Georgette.
Brooklyn post-punk quartet WALL had a tremendously busy 2016, relentlessly playing gigs at nearly every notable underground New York City venue and becoming one of the most buzzed-about bands at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin. They also released an acclaimed EP and received much attention from blogs. WALL's Untitled LP expands on that EP, with ten songs reacting to the confusion and frustration of everyday life. On opening track "High Ratings," singer Samantha York viciously comments on the constant search for approval and validation in the age of social media, ultimately placing the blame on everyone. As with many of the album's highlights, the song is an aggressive blast of post-punk that never sticks to the same tempo and ends quickly (in this case, in under a minute and a half). Other songs on the album are a bit more brooding, even tipping toward goth, at least with the pounding, hypnotic drums and slightly acerbic guitar of "Everything in Between" and the cavernously deep bass guitar of "(Sacred) Circus." On many of the songs, York drifts from shouting to aggressive spoken work passages, glaring at her subjects and confronting them. Some of the tracks turn into alarming narratives, such as "Save Me," during which York encounters two people dangling off a ledge, driven to desperate measures. "Turn Around" is more confrontational, with York knocking down a misogynist creep, ultimately taking his life. The album's lightest moment (at least on the surface) is a cover of "Charmed Life" by Half Japanese, faithfully replicating the song's exuberant, tumbling rhythm and wailing saxophone, as well as Jad Fair's cynical lyrics, which fit in with the scenes of desperation depicted throughout the rest of the album. WALL announced that they had already ceased activity by the time Untitled was released, making it the definitive statement of the group's bitter, paranoid worldview. ~ Paul Simpson