A 26-minute blast of fury and anger. A non-stop barrage of uncontrolled emotion. Husker Du's Land Speed Record is a live album that trashes mercilessly along for less than half an hour. It contains seventeen (17!) songs that are glued to each other Ramones-style, one song's fading out chord being the first chord of the next. As a full-throttle assault it's nearly incomparable, but as a collection of songs it seems rather flawed. While some songs may have recognisable hooks and clever lyrics, the horrible sound obliterates our chances of ever finding that out. Most of the songs (I'm Not Interested, Guns At My School, Strange Week, Big Sky) just sound very similar, as you only hear crashing drums and cymbals, rumbling bass and a guitar that's being controlled by an insane maniac.
Being a non-native speaker may be my disadvantage, but of some of the songs I only recognize words that also appear in the title. Still, some songs (well, about two of 'em) are out of step: Don't Have A Life sounds loud and fast, but also angular, if you know what I mean, as if they were covering a song by Gang Of Four or Wire. Bricklayer also present on the band's first studio album Everything Falls Apart, is immediately recognisable because of the intro and its tight aggression. The album's closer, Data Control, however, slows the tempo down and is by far the most lengthy and interesting song on the album. Moreover, it's the only song of which I can understand all the lyrics. Luckily, it's a great song, dealing with a (future – though it's not far-fetched to presume the boys were talking about modern-day) society in which all data about the citizens are centralized, enabling a 1984-system of total control. Musically, it's also easily the most impressive song, plodding thunderously along, and the best part is the frighteningly intense climax before the last chorus, with all three members screaming "DATA CONTROOOOOL" at the top op their lungs. A primitive but apocalyptic song, bursting with uncontrolled energy. The rest of the songs are either loud and fast hardcore punk, loud and very fast hardcore punk, or loud and ridiculously fast hardcore punk.
Despite the ultra-short songs, the messy sound and the often messy playing (although that's hard to know for sure, given the non-existing production value), the fact that this outfit was capable of reaching bigger heights was a sure thing. We just had to wait another few years and deal with some transitional albums before witnessing that.
All Tensed Up / Don't Try to Call / I'm Not Interested / Guns at My School / Push the Button / Gilligan's Island / MTC / Don't Have a Life / Bricklayer / Tired of Doing Things / You're Naive / Strange Week / Do the Bee / Big Sky / Ultracore / Let's Go Die / Data Control
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