Human Exploration (Lumpy Records)
A lot of biodegradable soy ink has been spilled in the dissection and exegesis of “Attitude,” something Uranium Club has a ton of, mostly of the confrontational, transgressive kind. Attitude is the gasoline punk rock runs on, the air punk rock bands choke on. The band—former Iowa Citian Brendan Wells (of the band Solid Attitude, fittingly), Matt Stagner, Harry Wohl and “Teen Man”—use aggression and a passion for loud noisy punk rock to encode some curious and nebulous ideas.
Calling a song “Black Semen” isn’t something you do to reach the broadest possible audience. The lyrics (“Black semen on the floor, Black semen in your jeans”) might be about sex, or drugs (“Just watch your intake”), but lines like “the sins of the insects, they don’t apply to me” shade over into William Burroughs territory. “Rafter Man” drifts even farther, into the disassociated rambling of a murderer: “You’re never gonna find that boy, not where I put him.”
“Prissy Chrissy” may (or may not) be about Chrissy shooting a store clerk. Specific, but inexplicable details are given (“The Miss Piggy sticker peeled slowly with liquid underneath”) without ever becoming coherent. There’s implications of violence, and the bleakness of a convenience store, and maybe the clerk is imagining the whole thing to stave off boredom.
Anyone can write ambiguously disturbing lyrics, but Uranium Club makes them stick with their frantic, savage rock and roll attack. Half-sung, half-screamed lead vocals, raucous staccato guitar and trashcan lid drums invite comparison to edgy, uncompromising first-generation bands like Television and Wire. Theres only one guitar tone, fuzzy and scuzzy, which brings to mind AC/DC.
The spirit of 1977 is strong in Uranium Club, but it’s better to judge their work in the context of the present-day Minneapolis music scene, where they offer a fresh and intriguing sound. They’re not a Replacements or Husker Du retread; they’re loud and disturbing in a different way entirely.