Published Mar 20, 2012It's been five years since New York noise rock masters Unsane released an album, the last being 2007's excellent Visqueen. But according to bassist Dave Curran, the reason for Unsane's absence is about as blunt and no-frills as the band's reliable, hardcore-tinged urban audio battery.
"I guess we all got busy with different things," Curran tells Exclaim! "I work with the Melvins; I do live sound for them, so I've been touring with them, and [drummer] Vinnie [Signorelli] owns a few tattoo shops, so he's busy with that. Generally, it's nothing sinister, we all got kinda busy then we realized, 'Hey, we should make another record. It's been a while.'"
Guitarist/vocalist Chris Spencer spent some of the downtime with his new band, Celan, but it was inevitable that the noise rock institution would return. And return they have, with the stellar Wreck, Unsane's first for legendary punk label Alternative Tentacles. And the album finds the band trying a few new twists on their sound, something Curran says is only natural.
"After you make a few records like we have, you try not to repeat yourself," he says. "You put out something new and you don't want to make it sound like the last record, so we like trying new stuff every record."
But like when Visqueen came out and people were talking about the changes in sound, it needs to be noted that Wreck still contains 85 percent of exactly the same sonic severity that fans of the band know to expect. As for that other 15 percent, Curran says that stretching musical capabilities is natural after so many years. But does he worry about what fans might think of Unsane trying new things?
"I would say no outright, but really, honestly, when you've been putting out records for a long time like we have you wonder what your fanbase is going to think if you're trying something new out. You hope people like it. It's not so much worry as it is hoping people like it. We're always going to try new shit every record, anyway."
One of the new things on this record is a cover of "Ha Ha Ha," a song by proto-noise rock punk band Flipper.
"For a couple of years, probably a decade or so ago, when we went on tour we included it in our set," says Curran. "We played it live a few times for fun. After talking about it and jamming it out again we decided to put it on the record. We're all big Flipper fans and figured it fit pretty well."
And as Unsane, with seven full-lengths and a very respected history under their belt, start to eye down their 25th anniversary, Curran pauses for a moment to think about their impressive legacy, although he's reluctant to call it that.
"I suppose so," says Curran. "For us, we don't see it that way. You look back and think, 'Oh yeah, we put out a bunch of records,' but I never really considered us legendary or anything like that. We're just three guys trying to play music and put out records, basically."
Wreck arrives today (March 20) via Alternative Tentacles.