Calculated chaos abounds on Portland, Oregon, trio U Sco‘s full-length debut, Treffpunkt. The LP releases next week on New Atlantis Records and compiles eight brainbending instrumental selections of noise-gone-prog, churning high-speed math metal changes out with raw punker tones and some feedbackular hum for atmosphere and abrasion alike. It’s a dizzying array of sounds proffered by guitarist Ryan Miller, bassist Jon Scheid and drummer Phil Cleary, and if you were to follow the bouncing ball on a cut like the six-minute “Crack in the Crystal Glass,” you’d likely need more than three dimensions to do it. They turn and they drive and they shuffle and they even boogie a little bit (there’s some get-down in there), and spazz quick enough from one to the other that you’d almost be tempted to call it jazz if it didn’t already have 50 other designations. By whatever name, dudes are freaking out.
If you’re like, “Whatever, chief” and think you’re all set to hang with the bird-chirp guitar noise that starts “Tuskflower” or the litany of furies that unfold therefrom like sentient origami, knock yourself out, but be warned that Treffpunkt gets pretty brutal. Not in the growly ruh-ruh-ruh death metal sense, but throwing down a challenge anyway in its chops and technical prowess that, since it’s beyond the realm of my simpleton understanding, I’m just gonna have to assume is magic. The appearance of some standup bass in the title-track is noteworthy, and all the more so if you can find it amidst the surrounding assault, and right when the whole record seems like it’s going to burst, with the mega-noodle tap-ery of “Iguana House,” U Sco pull back and drone out on “Glm Lrkr” (which I’ll assume is pronounced “glum lurker” as opposed to some other configuration of vowels), slow riffing for a while before letting a wave of noise carry the last six minutes or so of the nine-minute track. You know, just in case you dared to think you knew what was coming or something like that.
It’s a Sept. 23 release date, and I’ve been given the nod to host the full doodad ahead of time, so find it on the player below, followed by PR wire info and order-type links, and enjoy:
Featuring members of notable, genre-bending Portland-bred projects such as Jezebel Spirit, With Eyes Abstract and Duck. Little Brother, Duck!, U Sco has been an electrifying, formidable staple of Portland’s unparalleled punk scene since their formation in 2011.
Treffpunkt was recorded and mixed by Paurl Walsh at Roadhouse Studios in Portland in the winter of 2013. Sonically, it’s the best representation of the band so far, combining the dizzying velocity of their live performances with an aural spaciousness and lucidity that highlights the group’s breathtaking consideration for musical minutiae. Treffpunkt is an immensely challenging (and equally rewarding) listen, but one should hesitate to use the word “inaccessible” – U Sco’s blood is red hot. In vulgar terms, this is progressive rock with a hardcore heart. A far cry from the emotionally-detached, irritatingly-positive, regurgitated diatonic Don Caballero-worship that characterizes most contemporary math rock. This is not happy music; this is not superficially fun music. Dissonant, propulsive, and pantonal- this is monolithic art rock, triumphant its raw, discomforting sonic catharsis.