U SCO ~ Treffpunkt

treffpunkt picU SCO alternately defines itself as “avant-punk” and “progressive rock with a heartcore heart”, but their defining force is that of controlled chaos.  A live fave around the Portland area, this trio rocks with the force of ten.  The band incorporates math rock, heavy metal, and (on the last track, just when you think they’re done) a touch of doom.  High energy characterizes the first seven tracks, which rise at times to nearly 200 b.p.m.  With this in mind, Treffpunkt a) should be played loud and b) when played loud, may make the needle jump from the groove.

The time signatures vary multiple times within these pieces.  Riffs rise to the surface like deep sea divers, gasping for air; mini-melodies scuffle for recognition.  The title track even includes a guest appearance by stand-up bass.  Some of the finest moments arrive between bouts of pandemonium: for example, the twelve seconds of heavy metal found in “Beuhkse” (3:38-3:50).  It’s as if the band is winking to its audience, saying, “yeah, we could do that, but we won’t.”  The metal is followed by a one-second pause, demonstrating the band’s coordination.  This may sound like improv, but it’s not ~ it can’t be, it’s way too complex for that.  If it is math rock, it’s calculus; if it’s punk, it’s post-graduate punk.

Punk was a reaction to the mainstream, a blatant disregard for rules and manners, powered by the nervous energy of now.  U SCO shares the raw power and immediacy, but not the rudeness or slop.  Punk was anger with a target; post-punk distills the anger to adrenaline.  In this case, U SCO comes across as violent, but not mad; one can imagine the trio stopping between sets for shots of espresso (especially as one of their recent gigs took place in a coffee shop).

By the end, the band seems spent.  Closing track “Glm Lrkr” is a slower beast, the rocker on the curb after the last Monster drink has run its course and the mini-marts have closed.  The fact that it’s twice as long as its relatives (nearly 10 minutes) leads one to believe that it may be a half-speed version of an unheard track, reflecting a Low/Codeine approach to composition.  But no, it’s a fully-fledged piece in Earth mode, a monolithic creature lumbering toward its final meal.  It’s no longer post-punk, but post-everything, the crash before unconsciousness and uncertain dreams.  (Richard Allen)

Available here

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