by Jeremy Zerbe (@jznonotthatjayz)
There seems to be a burgeoning trend in music journalism where every write-up of a new, hip buzz band has to use words like “fearsome” and “slays” and “demolishes” to describe what the band does, when really the band is just playing maybe a little loud. That’s a problem—not just because it’s hyperbolic, silly and signifies the ubiquity of click-bait nonsense—but also because when a band like PIGS comes along that really does fearsomely slay and demolish, the words I’d like to use to describe their music are rendered meaningless and empty. It’s like the boy who cried wolf.
So when I tell you that the angular, muck-ridden, metallic crunch of the New York City-based trio sounds like being smashed in the face with a gravestone out of an eerie green mist, I hope you will believe me. With their pedigree, you should. The project is, after all, that of Unsane bassist Dave Curran (though here he is on guitar and vocals), with Jim Paradise of Player's Club on drums and Andrew Schneider (famous for producing Unsane, Cave-In and Converge, among others) on bass.
Wronger, released late last year, is the band's second full-length and, like its predecessor, it is full of the gravelly noise rock that its members are known for making throughout their careers. Comparisons to those earlier projects, along with bands like Atlanta's Whores or Athens, GA's Jucifer will surely abound, but what sets PIGS apart from their brethren is how much more they are. They're more noisy than Unsane, more gritty than Cave-In, more melodic than Whores, more technical than Jucifer. Wronger, for all its filthy, off-the-cuff glory, is actually an extremely well-designed, well-oiled machine. It's dirty and aggressive enough to get your blood pumping, but full of melodies that actually stick in your head long after you punched through that cinder block wall with your bare hands.
And it's produced in such a way that allows you to enjoy both. The marriage of clarity and chaos on Wronger is remarkable in its own right. Music like this, no matter how good the songs are, can easily be ruined in the studio. Too crisply produced and you lose that rawness and immediacy; too lo-fi and dirty and you lose all of its power and clarity. Fortunately, PIGS can do it all. The album sounds great, roiling its way through quiet, angular guitar lines into pummeling bouts of rhythm and rancor into transcendent moments of glittering texture, all wrangled by Curran's Lemmy-esque growl, full of emotion but also melody. And the songs barrel forward unrepentantly under it all, a current of unstoppable force from the broken, discordant notes at the onset to the final step of the album's nearly eight minute death march of a closer. Well written, expertly played and fantastically recorded, Wronger couldn't be more right.