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Album #363: Unwound – Fake Train

  • Released: 1993
  • Origin: Tumwater, Washington, USA
  • Label: Kill Rock Stars
  • Best Track: Pure Pain Sugar

I don’t think I’d even heard of Unwound before this year, but I keep seeing them cited as an influence for other bands I’m listening to, so maybe it’s time I gave them a go. I’ve also learned that their bassist Vern Rumsey sadly died this year.

Their first album seems tricky to access, so I’m starting with their second, Fake Train. I’m enjoying it too – a bit like Fugazi, but with less regard for melody and more for maths.

The guitars are raw and angular, with the squawks of feedback left in, and the vocals hard to decipher. Tracks like ‘Lucky Acid’ are almost thrash-punk, while others like ‘Were, Are and Was or Is’ linger on krautrock style, with that one basically acting as an instrumental outro for ‘Kantina’ and an ‘End of Side A’ if you have it on vinyl.

It’s the intensity that really strikes you though, particularly on the awesome ‘Nervous Energy’. ‘Pure Pain Sugar’ stands out too – two and half minutes of driving, grinding bliss.

Good album, good band, and another one for my back catalogue explorations of 2021.

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