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The USA Is A Monster




More often than not, noise rock's political content is largely dependant on the listener's inference. The garbled vocals, turbulent sonics and cryptically jumbled artwork imply the primal rage that song names like Lightning Bolt's "Dead Cowboy" or Yellow Swans' "Police Eternity" hint at.

Before hearing even a lick of their music, you know how USA Is a Monster members feel about their homeland -- the name Colin Langevin and Tom Hohmann record under is WTC-protest-placard direct. In contrast to flag-clad neo-cons, they swaddle Wohaw in paintings nobly depicting Native Americans, this nation's original inhabitants; unlike its genre peers, Monster not only refuses to muffle its lacerating bile globs but thoughtfully transcribes them in the liners.

Wohaw furiously swirls Native American lore and imagery together with disgust with the West's foreign, environmental and cultural policies, a Noam Chomsky-meets-National Geographic shout-de-force. The first half of the record is rockily raucous, from the war chant-powered neon riffs of "Clay People" to the barbed-wire snarls of "Poison Plant," to the punkish fits-and-starts rant "All the World's Leaders Must Die." In the record's midsection, though, Monster shifts gears in a way groups of the ilk rarely do: Monster goes unplugged, chipping away on acoustic guitars against backdrops of rain, waterfalls, bubbling brooks, crunching leaves or utter silence.

It's here that Langevin and Hohmann offer a tender, mellow glimpse of the peace, tranquility and simplicity they'd like to engender, but know the world's on the verge of losing altogether.

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