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White Suns - Sinews

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Artist: White Suns

Album: Sinews

Label: Load

Review date: Jun. 14, 2012

Packaging bands via the self-creation of vapid music genres may be overblown critic tomfoolery, but when coined by scribe luminaries like the self-described “Dean of American Rock Critics” Robert Christgau and called something as delicious as “pig fuck,” exceptions to the rule do exist.

Circa mid-1980s, Christgau thrust the "pig fuck" term onto the white-trash, industri-noise concoctions the Minneapolis-based AmRep label released and to seedy downtown New York City where Sonic Youth were meting out econo guitar screwdriver-carve job landmarks like Confusion is Sex. Pig fuck eventually morphed into the less offensive — and otherwise more printable — noise-rock and ostensibly dissipated as a genre. But just like the reunion phenomena has swept up and spit out throngs of bands, it was inevitable pig fuck would be revived by the rock-write contingent.

Terrorizing noise punk newbies like The Men, Pop.1280, and the recently defunct Pygmy Shrews were hoisted upon the pig fuck throne, deemed saviors of the long dormant genre along with Brooklyn’s White Suns, a twentysomething trio who’s niche could be decreed, albeit comically, as avant-pig fuck. While the other nascent pig fuck-ers manifest a boffo, icky punk rock spirit, White Suns’ aesthetic is not for the squeamish, and the repugnant art-noise pummel they purge separates them from what is a killer pack.

Remarkably, the feasibility of White Suns’ sophomore effort, Sinews — and their trajectory as a whole — being less ‘mersh than their debut (2011’s ugEXPLODE-released Waking in the Reservoir) and earlier material like the “Communion” single and the epic Mourning Chamber cassette, has met glorious fruition. The ostensible soundtrack for the apocalypse, Sinews‘ six lengthy tracks fuse the ugliest of throat-scraping, bloodthirsty primal yelps and no wave-inspired behemoth riff chaos (courtesy of guitarist/vocalist Kevin Barry), cheapo electronics mishmash noise waves, drum-kit obliteration and shit tons of clatter whacking and ear-splitting metal clang. Pussy Galore’s garbage-can banging drummer Bob Bert would be proud.

As the bass-less White Suns (rounded out by guitarist/electronics trasher Rick Visser and drummer Dana Matthiesson) nod to noise purveyors like Wolf Eyes, they deviate from that scene by jacking up their dirges and misanthropic bent with the undercurrent of Sightings-like rigid grooves. But the prevailing difference in aesthetic lies in Barry’s claustrophobic, sermonizing-like screams. His insanely intense wails on “Temple,” “Oath” and “Fire Sermon” not only create a perverse religious pattern, but equate that theme with from-the-pulpit preachy bluster while brutal dissonance serves as its backdrop. Call it pig fuck, avant-pig-fuck, noise or noise-rock, White Suns abide by a single classification: their own.

By Brad Cohan

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