On first listen, Terror sounds like the aural version of the film Thierry makes about Banksy in Exit Through the Gift Shop; somewhat disjointed and random. After the initial shock of tracks swapping genre and sound in a heartbeat the intricate connections start to show and it turns out this LP is far from disjointed.
People often write about lyrics being refreshingly open; these lyrics are far from refreshing but are incredibly open and tinged with incredibly dark humour. The honest dialogue runs a gauntlet between being completely relatable and creating an emotional understanding, and disagreement in behaviour or opinion. Either way it’s is nothing short of brilliant. It is very rare that lyrics focus on negative personality traits without being somewhat self-serving, strangely this makes this release even more relatable and gives a true insight into Alex Johnson’s point of view.
Musically there is an awful lot of ground to cover; much like London’s Calling or Refused’s The Shape of Punk to Come, the thing that makes this a punk record is the diversity. It’s a modern insight into what London’s DIY scene sounds like almost in its entirety, like travelling around small venues and hearing the most diverse possible shows.
‘Day Job Wanker’ starts with the digital equivalent of the classic punk plectrum scratch before exploding into ferociously opinionated punk. ‘Christmas in a Crack House’ and ‘Flummoxed More Than Jealous’ have all the charm of Adam Green’s grimy show tunes, while ‘Judas Betrayer’s has a punk sound that transcends time; somehow it sounds both vintage and modern. As the release progresses there are nods towards ska and reggae with ‘Thank You’ quite likely to become the sound of the summer, complete with the most positive chorus and infectious hooks of the entire release.
There are some truly wonderful pop songs hidden amongst the gritty lyrical honesty with ‘Ride It Out’ another contender for song of the summer. The guitar oozes sunshine and the organ line adds a sense of individuality to what is essentially a great example of modern indie. A lot of high profile indie acts dream of hooks and choruses this good. The electronic introduction of ‘As The Rest of the World Sleeps’ leads into another slice of genius; sat somewhere between post punk and 80s electro-pop, this is probably the best song about insomnia ever written.
Terror sees Wonk Unit in incredible song writing form; somehow they have embraced the entirety of alternative music and create an album that flows better every time you listen to it. Every single lyric is well considered and the honesty is, at times, uncomfortable but consistently real; there is a sense of catharsis without self importance. The vocals and musicianship are full of variety and creativity making every moment of Terror an absolute joy to listen to.
Although it may take a few listens this release might just be one of the best 2018 has on offer.
Terror is out on April 20th.