Pere Ubu - 20 Years in a Montana Missile Silo
Returning after the critical success of 2015’s Carnival of Souls, the revolving line up of Ohio’s Avant-Garage rockers Pere Ubu return with their 16th studio album 20 Years in a Montana Missile Silo. Recorded with long term collaborator Paul Hamann, sole surviving member David Thomas builds on the futuristic blues rock cacophony that marks the band’s career with three pronged guitar attacks and digital and analog synth squeals. Initially toying with calling the album Bruce Springsteen is an Asshole, then changing it to Robert De Niro is an Asshole, Thomas is never one to conform to the archetypical rock singer and this is still evident 16 albums in.
With the pulsating Krautrock beats, layered with the repetitive Post-Punk garage rock riffs, held together by Thomas’s unique vocal delivery, 20 Years… is part aggressive release, part claustrophobic paranoia, all interjected with a tongue in cheek sinister vibe. Thomas’s vocal delivery is the glue that holds the whole album together - a healthy amount of Mark E Smith sneer with more melody, or Tom Waits entering his New Wave period. Highlights include barnstorming blues album opener ‘Monkey Bizness’ with it’s refrain of “Sex clowns bounce around”, the angular post-punk of ‘Funk 49’, the Nick Cave-esque ‘The Healer’, the Germanic avant garde Jazz Rock of ‘Plan from Frag 9’, and ‘Howl’ which starts of like a lost song from The Cramps.
Over in a brisk 34 minutes, 20 Years in a Montana Missile Silo is the sound of David Thomas doing what he has always done - not given a shit about whether critics or audience enjoy what he produces or not, but creating art for art’s sake. Thankfully what Thomas wants to create is still as energetic and demented as he has ever been, pre-dating Punk Pere Ubu’s mark (in it’s many forms) continues to heard in work artists such as Nick Cave, Queens of The Stone Age and beyond. And long may it continue.