Scattered, Smothered & Covered

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Scattered, Smothered & Covered Review

by Patrick Kennedy

Named after a dish at American roadside restaurant Waffle House, Unsane's third full-length stripped down and sharpened the band's signature minor-key noise attack, utilizing decidedly more rock 4/4 rhythms. What emerges is a collection of songs that, although as aggressive and drill press-pummeling as anything else in the band's oeuvre, benefits from the breathing space afforded by Vinny Signorelli's heavy one-two kick-snare punch. Indeed Signorelli's tasteful, economically powerful drumming is the centerpiece of this release. With that backbone firmly installed, Chris Spencer's overdriven Telecaster and vocals ring out like shotgun blasts. While the band's earlier material often suffered from poor production, engineer Tim Mac's facility in gaining instrument separation -- while maintaining the band's sewer-raw Sturm und Drang -- provided the adrenaline injection Unsane had needed in the studio for years. Maintaining a consistent cover art aesthetic, Scattered... shows a recently bludgeoned man laying on a mattress next to a ball peen hammer, the carnage rendered just this side of tasteful by a well-placed pillow. This is a punishing, but ultimately tuneful album, realistic in subject matter, as engaging as it is abrasive. With the video for the song "Scrape" -- featuring a montage of particularly nasty skateboarding accidents -- entering MTV's heavy rotation and remaining for over two months, Scattered, Smothered, & Covered was Unsane's most successful, and sonically rewarding, album.

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