Music Reviews


(Sargent House) Rating - 8/10

ULTRAPOP is not easy listening by any means. But weighed against the rest of The Armed's discography, it's objectively their most accessible—the mock-branding exercise of the album's artwork itself prone to fooling anyone who may think they're selling denim jeans and not blistering hardcore punk. Regardless, the Detroit-based collective's third LP is obstinate in its refusal to exist somewhere in the middle. The fast-charged rhythms and bright guitars of Masanuga Vapors and An Iteration barrel through with no remorse, but within all the chaos lies a life-affirming, maximalist sound that aims for the rafters. The shoegaze-inspired Average Death imagines what a band like Slowdive would sound like if they beefed up their rhythm section. Over a dozen musicians took part in the album's recording, featuring a who's who of undefined modern noise and art-rock musicians (from Converge and METZ to Dillinger Escape Plan) best left to the imagination. But as madcap of a concept as ULTRAPOP appears to be, its musical thrust feels purposeful in its creation and curation.