Review: Destruction Unit’s ‘Negative Feedback Resistor’ Is a Noise-Punk Endurance Test
Release Date: September 18, 2015
Label: Sacred Bones/Adult Swim
As the brightest headlamps exploring the New American Heavy Underground, the Arizona punks in Destruction Unit have always been louder than the sum of their constituent parts. The project started at the turn of the century as a way for frontman Ryan Rousseau to cool down between sweaty shows in Jay Reatard’s early live bands. But even then, when he was making gnarled home recordings influenced by gothy synth-pop and the krautrock icons in Faust, there was an ascendant spirit untamed and unburdened by the sickly sonics.
Over the years, D-Unit’s undergone a rock’n’roll transformation, enlisting local hardcore kids, deep house DJs, power electronics performance artists, and Rousseau’s brother to bolster a newly weighty impulse. The dictum was loud, fast, and unhinged, and with each member that they’ve added, each of those descriptors has increased by a disproportionate magnitude — as if each amp added to the stage was worth two in volume, each manic personality feeding back into the others. It’s an addled atmosphere that’s birthed gloriously psychedelic punk texts with a scorched rubber stench that could be from the reckless speed or the DMT.
Fueled on a cocktail of uppers (as guitarist Jes Aurelius gleefully relates) and help from some similarly experimental friends in Dirty Beaches, Croatian Amor, and the Germs, they’ve finally found the brickwalled limit to their ascension on the new Negative Feedback Resistor. And they seem to have decided to drive into it over and over again. The music contained herein is punk in its pacing and po’-faced-ness, but all the grips have been sandblasted away. While they once were content to slow down and space out, here they don’t relent.