United Nations - Never Mind the Bombings, Here's Your Six Figures [7-inch] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

United Nations

Never Mind the Bombings, Here's Your Six Figures [7-inch] (2010)


The enigmatic ensemble that is the United Nations first made waves some time before their debut ran into trouble on the way to its release. Initially dubbed "grindcore" in early press coverage, what emerged from United Nations' self-titled debut was an abrasive blend of Golden Age screamo, extended powerviolence and the melodic post-hardcore frontman Geoff Rickly popularized in Thursday.

Never Mind the Bombings, Here's Your Six Figures doesn't depart much from the hectic, noisy smattering of its predecessor, including the equally blatant copyright bending of the front cover. Whoever is spanking the skins (Ben Koller of Converge is commonly suggested) makes his presence known immediately on "Pity Animal," a complex jumble of precision blast beats, snapping marches and sludgy rhythms. The drums either prod along to the twisting guitarwork opposite the spoken-word bridge or slam heavy with a force equal to the throat-searing screams of Rickly and company.

The slightly more straightforward "Communication Letdown" succeeds in building what comes closest to an anthem as the refrain shouts "Everybody's talking about the things they know nothing about / Everybody's talking about the things they couldn't figure out." The title track rounds out the four-song EP with its most intricate composition of slicing guitar riffs, machine gun rhythms, and a climax that builds twice before finally coming to an orgasmic swirl of blast beats and atmospherics. Above it all are the acerbically political lyrics that brush the edges of nihilism: "It's always the same: Things change, but never when you need it / You can show us the campaign / But no one's ever watching / Don't you get it?"

United Nations may have already made their biggest impact on their debut, but Never Mind the Bombings... is arguably their finest work. It's focused and incisive, uncompromising yet progressive. It's what happens when art and substance converge towards a common goal at the hands of those who have the abilities to pull it off.