Untied States - Instant Everything, Constant Nothing (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Untied States

Instant Everything, Constant Nothing (2009)


You might just be here if you're one of the 300 people or so that enjoyed what was seemingly the only full-length from United States, 2006's Divorce Songs. I know I am, and if you are, maybe you should re-read the band name. There's a minor spelling difference, and that means, yes, this is a completely different band than that Brooklyn-based post-hardcore outfit. And yet, if you also happen to like your bands with plenty of experimentation, noise rock influence and a bit of a wild, esoteric side, you should enjoy Untied States just as much.

Untied States' third full-length, Instant Everything, Constant Nothing is a little less Dischord and a lot more eccentric while still managing to convey an artful, discordant brand of post-hardcore/indie rock. If you can imagine ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead's less classic rock-influenced stuff, only more raw, unfettered, sneering, and crazy...that's a start. I hear plenty of Jesus Lizard in here as well, though, from the scorched yelps ("Not Fences, Mere Masks") and sharper guitars to a bumbling bass that occasionally gives the record a thicker low end and its overall erratic yet rhythmic flow.

Still, there manages to be some restraint here. "Unsilvered Mirrors" opens with an expansive, sonically spread-open soundscape that might evoke thoughts of Radiohead, while the first half of "These Dead Birds" moans and lumbers similarly. The nasally vocals and taut moods of "Grey Tangerines" mark the band's clear Paper Chase influence, too, and it's got an excellent array of electronic fuzz and pulsing beats. The most straightforward melody doesn't really come until "Holding Up Walls," which throws in pleasantly awkward power-pop-sounding moments and damaged, distorted chords à la a decade-old Built to Spill sped up.

Generally, this album's pretty schizophrenic and assuredly unpredictable. Instant Everything, Constant Nothing definitely takes multiple listens to comprehend, but when you finally get a handle on what the band's doing, it's pretty interesting. It might get a little exhausting toward its end with all that goes on, but this is a worthwhile trip for fans of most things aforementioned.

Not Fences, Mere Masks
Bye Bye Bi-Polar
Wrestling with Entropy in the Rehabbed Factory
Holding Up Walls