Unsane upped the ante on the paradigm for abrasive noise rock. With its implacable, corrosive feedback, noisy riffs, distorted vocals, thumping bass, and barely contained drum fury, this is a damaging -- and quite damaged -- record. The Lower East Side trio's inaugural release assaults the senses like the Swans or Foetus before them, but tempers that art-scum priggishness with clear roots in punk and classic rock. Chris Spencer's riffs, while played with abandon and musical recklessness, are tight, well-conceived minor-chord progressions. In short, Spencer has successfully integrated the proto-industrial penchant for unrepentant feedback, punk rock's abandon, and rock & roll's insistence on song structure, and created a new beast. And what makes Spencer's case all the more peculiar -- and, therefore, that much more remarkable -- is his employment of a Fender Telecaster, a guitar traditionally reserved for country music. But it is precisely that idiosyncratic twang audible over the wail and wallop that elevates Unsane's debut into such audacious and cutting-edge territory. Furthermore, Spencer proves his mettle as the Travis Bickle of underground music. His vocals and lyrics positively ache with fear and loathing; he sounds like a man cornered, screaming a few final threats at the world before doing something quite bad, and quite newsworthy. Unsane contains none of the pose and posture many New York acts have traditionally been known for -- in fact, far from it. This album is an unflinching glance into a type of life others probably should not lead. A brilliant and daring debut.
AllMusic Review by Patrick Kennedy