Undesirable People


Written by: TL on 27/02/2013 19:47:02

It's a weird feeling, seeing the name of a band you know for certain you've reviewed yet being totally unable to really remember what they sound like. It gets weirder when you then put on their old release and immediately recognise the sound and the melodies. Why the disconnect between band identity and memory? Tough question to answer, but it's usually the kind of experience that has me padding myself on the back if I graded the original release around 7.

Enter "Undesirable People", a Michigan quintet whose self-titled debut EP I only vaguely remember checking out and writing about, but upon revisiting it, I did recognise the band's energetic, gang-chorus-backed, Transit-esque punk-rock. Things have changed slightly on 2012's "Eugenics" however: While the band still comes at the listener with a many-headed vocal attack, the vocals now sound more full and mature - as does the expression in general - and there's now an interesting contradiction to be found in how the band is decisively punk-rock in terms of rawness of vocals and analogue-ness of production, yet at the same time very un-punk-rock in their highly diverse and abruptly changing melodies and rhythms.

I guess the best way to describe it is to take vocals from Transit and Brigth & Early, and put them together in front of a band of instrumentalists inspired by Polar Bear Club. You get that same feeling that you're listening to punk-rock for connoisseurs. This is pretty cool, because it makes the band sort of exciting and inviting, making you interested to 'figure them out', but the downside is that they do take some figuring out, because just like Polar Bear Club's early material, their songs aren't necessarily all that easy to get into, given their abrupt flow.

The good news is that just like on "Undesirable People EP", the band pens choruses on occasion that will, if not make you some memories of them, then at least greet your recognition welcome upon repeat listens. Opener "Eugenics" takes but a few listens to wedge its refrain into your brain, and "You're Lucky (I've Let You Live This Long)" and "Deathly Combinations" have comparable power. And when things add up into catchiness like they do here, Undesirable People inevitably starts to stand out like a band to be on watch for. Building on the endearing vocal dynamics of a band like Transit, yet clearly not content to either leave punk-rock for good, nor restrain themselves within its narrow confines, I think these guys could become frontiersmen of something truly interesting, if they can just colour up their soundscape and tighten up their songs just a tiny bit more.

Download: Eugenics, You're Lucky (I've Let You Live This Long), Deathly Combinations
For The Fans Of: Transit, Polar Bear Club, Bright & Early
Listen: facebook.com/undesirablepeople

Release Date 04.09.2012
South Division Records

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