Despite the poetic sound of the term itself, sundowning -- the concept of people with Alzheimer's and dementia losing their lucidity as day turns to night -- is terrifying. Canadian neo-punkers Nü Sensae were so struck by this duality that Sundowning became the title of their second album. The term also works to describe a mood change that arose within the band: since their formation in 2008 and through 2011, Nü Sensae not only played as a duo, but singer/bassist Andrea Lukic and Daniel Pitout seemed almost rigidly against expanding their lineup -- but over those few years, they felt they reached their potential as a two-piece and, seeking a new challenge, tapped Brody McKnight to join the ranks as guitarist. With Sundowning, Nü Sensae succeed on all fronts, as they continue to deliver Lukic's furious roar and Pitout's percussive assault as well as move forward with an expanded musical palette thanks to the addition of McKnight. Coming from the menacing noise rock band Mutators, he augments Nü Sensae's SST meets Sub Pop aesthetic with corrosive, cacophonous shredding that brings their grunge underpinnings closer to the surface, which is further elevated thanks to production by Josh Stevenson (Jackie-O Motherfucker) and mastering by SST/Sub Pop/Kill Rock Stars regular John Golden. Over Sundowning's 14 tracks, there are razor-sharp riff-offs between Lukic and McKnight ("Spit Gifting"), chord crunching with the intensity of a steamroller ("Burnt Masks"), jackhammer jam sessions ("Swim"), plus surprising turns to murky dirge ("Tea Swamp Park") and spooky minimalism ("Say What You Are"). It's part punk, part grunge, part riot grrrl, all slamming together in the mosh pit and exploding into a fist-pumping fury you won't soon want to forget.
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AllMusic Review by Chrysta Cherrie