Ensuring there is no hiding place from its hellacious breath and discontent, the new album from Canadian noise merchants Tunic is a merciless beast of sonic corrosion and just as greedy invention. Quitter savages the senses from its first breath, chews them up and spits them out soaked in venom yet it proved one of the most virulently compelling and invigorating assaults this year.
Quickly following in the ravenous footsteps of the gripping Exhaling released earlier this year, Quitter is a ravenous onslaught of the Winnipeg band’s mix of noise rock/punk, hardcore and post punk dispute. As vocalist/guitarist David Schellenberg explains, “The whole record is about quitting”; a theme explored in its various guises including the impact of the sudden departure of Tunic bassist and co-founder Rory Ellis, who left the band after the recording of the new album. Whether that proved fuel to the cause or it’s just observational ire driving the apparent intimacy of its subject matters, Quitter bears greater rage and physical animosity than its equally barbarous predecessor; a resentment and rancour which in turn has ignited even more impactful craft, organic enmity and sure passion within the band.
The release opens with Apprehension and a gnarly bassline which immediately stirred our instincts, it soon joined by the just as invigorating swings of drummer Dan Unger. Both drove forward with manipulative prowess, the piqued tones of Schellenberg soon standing astride and directing the emotive dispute. Subsequently a violent but no less guileful squall, the track circulates its compelling design with increasing fury and enterprise, scalding the senses with undisguised pleasure.
Quitter’s title track follows, erupting with ferocity and exacting rhythmic coercion from a first breath similarly fuelled by vicious discontent. Debilitating and simultaneously galvanic, the song surges the senses with rabid intensity and concussive dexterity before Reward of Nothing unleashed its more kindly contagious but no less invasive exploits. It soon had ears ringing and singed senses buckling but the imagination and lustful passions dancing; the release already tapping into what certainly sparks our instinctive pleasures.
Viscerally captivating and fiercely uncompromising, the album continued its welcome trespass with Stuck, its initial sonic lancing a raw resonance around Schellenberg’s imposing tones, though that formidable persuasion is soon out weighted by the track’s stern eruption which spills its own inherent catchiness to command limbs and neck muscles with ruthless ease. Again Unger’s pummelling rhythms overwhelm as they incite, Ellis’ bass similarly a scuzz cyclone of noise matched in spite by unbridled sonic discord while Pattern Fixation sharing matching discordant spewing dispute ravaged ears with addiction fuelling invention, another moment greedily devoured.
Next up, Fake Interest stalks the senses whilst casting a glorious web of rhythmic enticement and sonic rapacity. It soon gripped and cemented favourite moment honours with cut-throat prowess and implacable temptation even under the challenge of the relentlessly barbaric yet welcomingly catchy You’re a Bug and Ex-Epic with its eventful dynamics and tempestuous emotions. Both tracks bruised and abused, leaving us greedy for more which the clamorous maelstrom of Common Denominator resourcefully fed.
As much a tumult of sound and discordance of heart and thought that Quitter is it is also a collection of tracks which create fresh twists with prowess and imagination within the landscape of the album. It is also a record which, for all the darkness and anger it feeds upon, springs a sense of defiance, resolve and hope within the tempest which the final pair of the deliciously discordant Smile and Demoralize with its feral contagion and corrosive tumult epitomise even if certainly the latter left senses buckled and ears blissfully exhausted.
Quitter is a challenge and true pleasure rolled up in one irresistible and addictive fury of sound; quite simply one of the year’s major highlights.
Quitter is out now via Artoffact Records; available @ https://tunicband.bandcamp.com/
Pete RingMaster 09/11/2021
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