The furious yowling on each track off Uniform’s Perfect World belies some pretty arresting compositional finery.
The duo, comprising one-time members of the avant-garde ensemble Zs and the punky Drunkdriver, underwent what must have been a ridiculous act of synthesis to arrive at Uniform’s trenchant, rusted cynicism. It’s all related in industrial terms, and shot through with the spirit of Los Angeles’ the Screamers. Instead of a French guy named Tomata screaming, Michael Berdan curses the ground people walk on and explains how to properly and intensely hate everyone’s guts.
As nihilistic as all of Perfect World is—the trashy drum machine ramping it up to ungodly levels—Ben Greenberg’s plaintive musicality can’t be subsumed by all the dour yelling and alternately severely slow and quick-step pacings. The album’s second track, “Indifference,” opens with a drum pattern that might hint at techno, but soon Greenberg’s guitar sputters into existence, blasting away at a few chords as Berdan explains all of life’s futilities. When the duo arrives at the song’s second portion—traditional rock structures aren’t always present over the course of Uniform’s six tracks here—a stunning bit of melodicism crops up, scaffolded by that paranoia-infused drum machine. Then it all drops away, mirroring the gaping maw of uncertainty all this music’s been birthed from.
Making it through the almost 40 minutes of “Perfect World” can be a trial, but not necessarily because of the compositional difficulty of the songs here. Instead, steadily digesting the amount of hate injected into each second of the group’s first full-length could just be an emotional bummer. So, by the time “Learning to Forget” rolls around, replete with its guitar minimalism and a stab at spoken word, fatigue’s likely to have set in—but in a weird, cathartic and ultimately edifying way.