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The Sediment Club - "Stucco Thieves" | Album Review


by Patrick Pilch (@pratprilch)

Austin Sley-Julian brought up The Sediment Club as somewhat of a teenage prodigy. With a WFMU session dating back to 2009, the then 17 year-old exhibited a not-so-17-year-old palate, cranking out eleven no wave contortions of treble-turnt guitars, pulsing bass lines, and a wildly bleating Casio; tunes that no doubt pay homage to his parents’ most likely impressive record collection. Just shy of a decade later, Sley-Julian continues to pursue haphazardly warped punk, hell-bent on breaking the mold of what is “safe” nowadays.

On Stucco Thieves, Sediment Club sound like the TV-deprived kid-cousins of Family Fodder, arriving for Thanksgiving dinner in November 2016 after a sobering 13-hour car ride through the backroads of American subcultures and societal backwash. In the rumble seat of the dependably rugged station wagon, Teenage Jesus & the Jerks and James Chance blare through a tape-deck stereo, busted and buzzing with each stomach-squelching turnpike pothole.

No doubt Sediment Club carpools with founding member Austin Sley-Julian, kin of Bush Tetras vocalist Cynthia Sley and Voidoids guitarist Ivan Julian, both acclaimed musicians, notable for making waves in the wake of New York City’s thriving art punk and short-lived no wave scene. With two indirect pilots of this sonic escapade, Stucco Thieves is musically informed by primary sources from one of the most fruitful and fabled periods in punk’s progress; a time where creative crossover was commonplace and counterculture was the common denominator.

On their latest, Sediment Club perfectly balance the jarring and the inviting; the Palberta-esque chorus of “Shadow Soon,” the mantric spelling of “obsolete” in the title track and the pinnacling tempo increase of “The Payoff,” perhaps the album’s most elegantly executed example of equilibrium. Psychosomatic vocal exercises scorch through conjoined drum and bass—the primary drivers under each track’s supplemental guitar meanderings. Sediment Club expertly deconstruct no wave from a virtual outsider’s perspective, pieced together like a freak garage punk outfit pressed up against a wall, listening to another Club through a muffling tin can. The result is caustic and grating, disassembled from the inside out, but Stucco Thieves bears an invitation for putting those pieces back together, revealing new discoveries upon each listen.