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Social Rust

Social Rust seems to be billed primarily as a new turn toward relative accessibility from New York's PC Worship. It's not an unfounded claim by any means, but it's likely to be misleading for the uninitiated. Previous output by the band was marked by a generally grating, aggravating, wall-of-noise sound, the product of various (sometimes indeterminate) instruments intertwining, almost competing for prominence and coalescing into a gloriously cathartic dirge.

So while it's only really accessible in relation to that earlier, more noise-oriented work, things have indeed changed on Social Rust. There is unmistakably a wide range of techniques and ideas here compared to the band's other three albums, or perhaps it's just that the production, although still lo-fi by anyone's standards, has now neatened up just enough to reveal the songwriting's qualities and let the creativity really shine through. In its own strange way, at times this album is even catchy. 'Baby in the Bedroom' consists solely of acoustic guitar and singing (actual singing).

Like the rest of the band's catalogue so far, Social Rust is presumably most heavily inspired by their home city's still-beloved No Wave scene of the late 70s and early 80s, deeply emphasising avant-garde principles of atonality and spontaneity. It's clear that improv must have played some significant part in the recording process, contributing to the record's endlessly captivating and urgent quality. The heavy, gritty and distorted guitar sound, though, in addition to the slow tempos, associate it closely with sludge and doom metal. Eight-minute closer 'First Wave Back' grinds the album to a close with a hypnotic riff that slows and slows before eventually falling back in on itself in a haze of feedback.

Thomas Sprackland