Destruction Unit – “Deep Trip”

I think Destruction Unit’s Deep Trip playing on the turntable actually caused my wife to leave the house the other day.

Now, to be fair we did have some stuff that we needed to pick up at the pet store (the dog did not appear to be fazed by Destruction Unit; the only band we’ve found that he doesn’t like is Devo), though her departure was pretty sudden and emphatic.  I suspect she figured Deep Trip would be done by time she got back.

Interestingly Destruction Unit provides a warning of sorts about this possibility in one of the two inserts included with this record (more on the other shortly).

Deep Trip (DT) is extremely potent by weight and the amount required
for a single dose is barely visible to the naked eye.  Deep Trip is usually
sold on long playing vinyl, cassette or compact disc.  With all these
forms it is impossible to tell the amount of Deep Trip one is actually
consuming.  

[…]

DT may affect your motor skills.  You should not drive or operate heavy
machinery.  It is recommended to find a friend with which to
oversee dosage.

You’ve been duly warned.

The other insert is even more interesting.  You see, the reverse album jacket is an image of blotter paper, which can also be seen sort of underneath the primary swirling images on the front if you look close enough.  The insert is basically a reproduction of the cover, minus the silver box at the top with the band and record info, on actual perforated blotter paper.  Now, if you don’t know what blotter paper is used for… well… um… if you have a friend who people describe as “far out” or who wears a lot of tie-dye shirts or loves to talk about the Grateful Dead, I’d suggest you ask them.  Or maybe your weird uncle (everyone has a weird uncle).  I had a short by intense relationship with blotter paper in my teens that is best left for another day to discuss.

So what about Destruction Unit and the music on their new 2013 release Deep Trip?  I bought it on a lark when I was over at Hi-Voltage Records in Tacoma the other day, both because it seemed interesting and because one of my friends pointed out that he likes it when I review albums that are actually new on the blog.  So T, this one is for you… though I don’t think Destruction Unit is going to be making it onto your iPod.  I guess I’d describe it as psych-punk (<– there’s a hint about the blotter paper there!), with a bit of noise thrown in for good measure.  The music is intense and eerie and emphatic and insistent.  It feels like it is actually putting pressure on your brain, no in the way that the heaviness of Black Sabbath feels like a physical weight sitting on your chest, but more of a psychological pressure that discombobulates your sensory system and screws with your synapses, leaving you feeling a bit uneasy and worried that someone might have spiked your drink (<– blotter paper again!).

I’ve been trying to figure out who I can compare these guys to, but there isn’t any one one band that is more than remotely comparable.  There’s maybe a hint of Gun Club in the sound of the vocals, perhaps a pinch of Iggy Pop in there somewhere, a grain of Ghost BC, a whiff of Black Sabbath.  But trippy.  And at a punk pace.  With some echo.  Which makes no sense at all.  Could have something to do with the blotter paper.

Tracks like “Bumpy Road” are structured around a very repetitive droning sound that can put you into a trance and carry you through its six minutes without even realizing that you were listening to a song (remember – you were warned against operating heavy machinery or driving).  But that’s followed immediately by the brief burst of punk energy that is “God Trip,” all 2:02 of it in all of its post-punk speed and glory.

In general the album’s short tracks, “Slow Death Sounds,” “God Trip,” and “Control the Light” are the most punk rock songs on the album, and all of them clock in at under three minutes.  At 3:57 “Holy Ghost” is somewhere in the middle, more metal than punk, but still trippy as hell and with just a bit of surf punk vibe to it.  The remaining four songs are a bit longer, from just under five minutes to around 7:30, and these tend to be heavier into the psych and trance side of the ledger.

If all that sounds like a ridiculous mess of a description, you’re right.  But I think after almost three full listens to this record in less than five hours (!), my brain may have become permanently rewired.  Or I need psychotherapy.  Or I just received psychotherapy in a vinyl format.  I just don’t know.  But it’s far out, man…