Essential New Music: Uniform’s “Wake In Fright”

There’s a lot to take in on this Brooklyn duo’s second record. Thematically, vocalist Michael Berdan mines his issues, burdens and neuroses for lyrical content that spans an overdriven line between unsettling experience and triumphant discharge. Sometimes the hardest part about being human is admitting our shortcomings, though it’s a lot easier when you’re able to exorcise demons physically and artistically, especially when the accompaniment is a cathartic wall of noise that calculates the blackened spot where cold industrial, monolithic post-rock and the rumbling thunder of NYC’s dirty ‘80s sonic experiments and outsider art overlap. Where Uniform steps to the left is in how varieties of sounds contribute to the punishing totality. “Tabloid” employs a hornet’s nest of samples, whereas “Habit” and “Light At The End” warp the concept of sustain into a mechanized-doom sensibility; it’s not just traditional distorted guitars playing traditionally heavy riffs here.

—Kevin Stewart-Panko