The WANTS – ” Container “

Posted: April 6, 2020 in ALBUMS, MUSIC
Tags: , , , ,

The Wants describe themselves as inspired by the minimal structures of punk-punk and while that may be true Container feels more deeply indebted to the earliest threads of industrial music. This is an electronics-forward record; mechanical drum beats, retro synths, and pounding digital bass punctuated with spiky guitar riffs that cut through the noise like razors. There are other stylistic touch-points that spice up the compositions, like the early 00s DFA-lite electroclash vibes of the lead track, “Ramp,” that plays like a pared down and condensed b-side from The Rapture’s Echoes. Title track “Container” features a lyrical structure that strings together a series of urgent verbs that recalls Daft Punk’s “Harder Better Faster Stronger” but with positive productivity swapped out for an indictment of possessive consumption. “Fear My Society” is the most clearly post-punk track on the album and slinks from the speakers on a precise and minimal guitar riff backed by punchy synths reminiscent of Depeche Mode at their most radio-ready.

Some of the most interesting compositions on the album are instrumental, delicious slices of pure atmosphere that amp up the drama between the lyrical segments. This is where The Wants truly start to experiment. Mechanical menace builds over the brief 52-seconds of “Machine Room,” a clanging beat over doomsday synths bleeding directly into the opening riff of “Fear My Society.” The deeply unsettling ambiance of “Aluminum” is tangibly electric, like reaching out through ionized air to touch the glowing static-screen of an ancient tube TV in a pitch-black room. “Aluminum” showcases The Want’s mastery of John Carpenter-esque creeping dread that lurks mostly in the shadows on the rest of the album, a tone that surfaces again on “Waiting Room,” but backed with a thick dance beat and a healthy portion of sonic anxiety.

Conceptually, Container is highly focused on the individual and preserving that uniqueness in the face of external pressures to conform. There’s an inherent human drive to classify everything; man, woman, black, white, gay, straight. The convenience of organizing people and things into neat little categories often comes at the expense of other traits that make us unique and completely ignores those that by nature or choice do not fit into the generally accepted societal framework.

The Wants completely reject the idea of compartmentalized conformity, taking a strong and often aggressive stance on standing out from the pack. “I will stay a deviant or I will die of boredom” punches through on “Ape Trap” as a singular statement of intent upon which the entire album orbits, a personal ultimatum that vehemently defines individuality in a world that actively undermines those that don’t fall in line. It’s a do-or-die stance that requires Herculean levels of discipline and the construction of emotional walls to keep the outside at bay. “I have no intimacy, I’m never vulnerable” Madison Velding-VanDam sings on the standout track “Clearly A Crisis,” a battle-cry of self-preservation wrapped up in an infectious dance beat.

There are moments of levity that keep Container from getting too unwieldy. “Motor” is propelled forward with a thick bassline and contagious riff, backing vocals from Heather Elle delivering the icy-cool come-on “let’s go fast” as the music churns like a packed dancefloor under pulsing strobes. A chip-tune Gary Numan synth and swirling digital sound effects feel like the soundtrack to an anime apocalypse on “Nuclear Party;” Neo-Tokyo succumbing to atomic annihilation as Velding-VanDam sing/chants “kiss my bombs and I’ll kiss your bones.” Its heavy and destructive, but so absurdist and nonchalant that you can’t help but grin which is probably the point.

Container is out now and may be just the thing to get you up and off your couch during the challenging days ahead. Nothing like a little end of the world dance party with your significant other, roommates, or pets to beat the cataclysm blues. Stay strong, stay weird, stay true.,

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