The Sediment Club - Stucco Thieves

by Joseph Trotman Rating:8 Release Date:2018-05-25
The Sediment Club - Stucco Thieves
The Sediment Club - Stucco Thieves

Stucco Thieves sounds like the kind of punk album that didn't require a lot of time to make. Now in their tenth year as a band, it seems The Sediment Club have honed their approach to the point where whole albums feel like a single cathartic exhalation. The result of this, a no-wave inspired noise-punk band somehow keeping their shit together for a decade, feels both clinical and chaotic, with an odd sense of fatalism injected into the chaotic melange. Hear the juxtaposition of vocalist Austin Sley-Julian's screeching refrain at the climax of "The Payoff" with the backing vocals stating in a sterile, matter-of-fact way that these wrenching screams are indeed, the titular payoff. Or on the eerie cooing falsetto vocals that comprise the mid-section of album highlight "Cobalt Ruin", where their weird resignation is unsettling on a level that's unusual for a snotty three-piece punk outfit. The Sediment Club aren't just trying to hit you over the head, they want under your skin. But, as the pummeling closing section of Cobalt Ruin eventually proves, they do also want to hit you over the head.

Like their labelmates Palberta, The Sediment Club are adept at outsider approaches to song structure. If you want anthemic choruses or a chorus at all, look somewhere else because it honestly sounds like The Sediment Club have never heard of them as a concept. Instead, these songs spend 1 - 2 minutes careening from one collision of sound to another, swerving from off-kilter dub grooves to thudding blasts of straightforward noise to spectral, lurching half-time sections that typically make use of Sley-Julian's higher register. The guitar is launched forth in atonal stabs, and there is a hyperactivity to both Lazar Bozic's bass lines and Jackie McDermott's drum work that often blur the lines between rhythm and lead. There is also a palpable sense that trying to make theoretical distinctions between things like "rhythm" and "lead" to these people would only earn you a confused look or a derisive laugh.

The production of the album is dry, sparse and unadorned throughout. In that sense, it feels like a throwback to the days of early punk and hardcore where mixing was either an afterthought or, as is probably the case here, rendered relatively straightforward by the fact that the band has formed such a cohesive set of inputs that any bells and whistles are unnecessary. It's a rare thing to see any band stick together for long enough to start acting decisively as a single mind, and it's especially exciting to hear this take shape in The Sediment Club, where that mind applies itself to shirking predictability and accessibility, digging into the chaos that defines them rather than sloughing off their eccentricities over time.

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