Like a great Quentin Tarantino shootout, the new record from northwest punk trio Nü Sensae balances perfectly on the edge of senselessness: simultaneously orgiastic and faultlessly choreographed.
Their second album, Sundowning was released last summer on Seattle’s Suicide Squeeze Records. On March 4, the Vancouverites played in Olympia at the volunteer-run art and music space Northern. About a hundred people gathered for the event featuring Seattle-based hardcore band Iron Lung, who joined the lineup spontaneously after the police broke up their nearby house show.
Raw and professional, Nü Sensae’s set flowed effortlessly. The audience listened with an intent respect typical of art gallery visitors. Guitarist Brody McKnight was painterly with his instrument, casting huge rolling waves of distortion and feedback over Andrea Lukic’s solid bass lines. Daniel Pitout seemed to defy physics with flailing arms that covered his entire drum kit.
The depth of Sundowning’s rage both distinguishes the album as one of the freshest punk rock records in recent memory, and relates it to the past greats of Northwest music. Each moment of Sundowning seems new, an ecstatic moving forward and breaking of restraints. Its fourteen tracks border on impressionistic / they charge ambitiously through styles and ideas in a fury of punk rock angst. The music is fluid, owing in large part to McKnight’s creativity with the guitar, who joins the core duo of Lukic and Pitout for the first time on this record.Lukic in particular is a force to be reckoned with. You probably can’t understand what she is saying, but you know she wants you to break a window, burn a car, or join a hockey fight. She shows remarkable flexibility with her voice – from blood-curdling shrieks to ominous drones – serving as the perfect accompaniment to the myriad of musical style the record offers
The only disappointing aspect of the performance was the band’s reserved stage presence, which fell short of giving the songs new meaning that one looks for in a concert. Perhaps the band has already lingered on these songs too long despite their fearsome forward energy.
After an intense regimen of touring since last summer, its not surprising that the band is ready to move on to new material. Following their trip to Austin for Sound by Southwest (SXSW) this month and a European tour in April, the group plans to work on new material through the summer
Following up the success of Sundowning will be no easy feat, but Nü Sensae has already proven they’re none too shy away from a challenge.
By Issac Scott