Review: Taiwan Housing Project – Sub-Language Trustees (Ever/Never, Jun 28)

Taiwan Housing Project’s (hereafter THP) incendiary follow-up to 2017’s Veblen Death Mask is more intense, abrasive, and overwhelming than its predecessor in virtually every way. Sub-Language Trustees moves beyond the angular post-punk slithers but retains the raucous garage rock energy, losing a lot of its sanity in the process (a change for which I couldn’t be more grateful). It’s more in the vein of “Luminous Oblong Blur” from Veblen Death Mask, further exploring the stumbling, deconstructed rhythmic structures and grating, Pop Group-esque sax skronk. Kilynn Lunsford’s vocals are as mesmerizing and disconcerting as ever, and the renewed power granted to them by THP’s new stylistic formula is no better exhibited than on opening track “Charitable Fiend,” a nearly five-minute inferno of jagged noise rock carnage. How the band manages to loosen the ties of their music to this extent yet still bring it back together for infectious, propulsive moments like the coda of “Universal Size” is beyond me, but Sub-Language Trustees is so amazing because it makes very little sense. It’s dark, menacing, and completely disjointed at some points, head-bobbingly catchy at others, and the whole thing ends up as one of the most entertaining cases of musical whiplash you’ll hear this year.