Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Pere Ubu “20 Years In a Montana Missile Silo”

In the more than forty years that the band Pere Ubu has been a musical project, the only real constant to the band’s musical direction is founding member David Thomas. And while Thomas has spent a lot of the four decades also focusing on other projects, Pere Ubu and its music has always been a large part of Thomas’ musical life.

Throughout the existence of Pere Ubu as a band, the group’s sound has fluctuated from one musical direction being quite non-commercial like the band’s homage to the play from which the band took its name, Alfred Jarry’s Ubu Roi (the band’s homage being called Long Live Pere Ubu) to other directions where the sound is a lot more listener-friendly such as perhaps the most commercial of their releases, Cloudland.

Long-time fans of the band have come to expect this from the group. And this is still the case for the band. In fact, the band has taken on a different feel to their sound once again as they changed the way they created their newest album from the way the last two albums were created. But no matter what way of creating their music the band uses, you can always be guaranteed of something fresh and different from the majority of the releases being created in the music industry today.

Pere Ubu is currently celebrating their newest album of music. Together with bandmates Keith Moliné (2005-present) guitar; Gary Siperko (2016-present) guitar; Kristof Hahn (2017) steel guitar; Darryl Boon (2012-present) clarinet and more; Robert Wheeler (1994-present) analog synths, theremin; Gagarin (2007-present) digital synths; Michele Temple (1993-present) bass and Steve Mehlman (1995-present) drums and more, David Thomas has created another Pere Ubu album that continues to prove that the band refuses to stay in the same musical groove. The new release from Pere Ubu is called 20 Years In a Montana Missile Silo.

20 Years In a Montana Missile Silo from Pere Ubu begins with the track “Monkey Bizness”. The track features a strong Punk feel to the music with the ever-present background noise that is the band’s signature. The bouncy feel to the music will have the listener grooving around with the track. The light, humorous lyrics of the song add to the upbeat nature of the track. “Monkey Bizness” is a fun track to start the newest Pere Ubu album off with.

When creating this new release, the members of Pere Ubu drew inspiration from different influences. That would explain the track “Funk 49”. When listening to the song, you can hear underlying elements to the music that will remind you of songs from the band The James Gang. Like Pere Ubu, The James Gang had their beginnings in Cleveland, Ohio. Because of that, it doesn’t see that strange that Pere Ubu would find inspiration from that band. The music from the track contains a solid Rock and Roll feel that is undeniable. The straight-out Rock sound of the track takes the song back to the seventies where artists like Bob Seger, Steve Miller Band and even The James Gang were creating music. So it comes as no surprise that the band would use the title of one of The James Gang’s songs for their own song that will remind the listener of the music from that band.

Taking their music in a more unusual direction, David Thomas and Pere Ubu seem to be channeling the band The B-52s on the song “Prison of the Senses”. Like much of the music from The B-52s, the track contains a definite Outer Space feel to the music. And with the omnipresent background noise in the form of the theremin from Robert Wheeler that makes the music of Pere Ubu so recognizable, the song would fit right into the musical library of that New Wave band. “Prison of the Senses” is one track that feels like classic Pere Ubu.

One of the tracks on the newest release from Pere Ubu that stands out the most is the song “The Healer”. With the rest of the album having such a powerful driving feel to it, “The Healer” features a slower pace and easier feel to the music. With the inclusion of background noise that sounds a lot like wind, the track comes across as a song that could have been included on a soundtrack for a science fiction/western hybrid movie.

Another track that has a rather unusual feel to it is the song “Plan from Frag 9”. The band creates music with a strong avant-garde feel to it. That avant-garde music makes the perfect musical bed for the beat poetry that would be perfect for Thomas’ alter ego, Crocus Behemoth, a name Thomas has used as a writer since before forming the band Pere Ubu. “Plan from Frag 9” is easily one of the weirder tracks on the release.

Bringing back a little influence from The B-52s for the song “Red Eye Blues,” David Thomas and the rest of Pere Ubu create a track that finds the band creating a track with a straight-out Rock and Roll feel to it. If it wasn’t for the inclusion of the theremin in the background of the song, the track of “Red Eye Blues” could be considered one of the more straight-out Rock and Roll tracks created by the band in the entire history of the group. With the theremin, however, the track makes good use of the band’s various influences and helps to create one of the strongest moments on the band’s new album of 20 Years In a Montana Missile Silo.

20 Years In a Montana Missile Silo from Pere Ubu finds the band in fine form. The twelve tracks that make up the release are nicely varied and help to make an album that long-time fans of the band will be proud to own.

To hear the music from Pere Ubu, check out the video for the song “Monkey Bizness“.

For more information, check out Pere Ubu’s website for all of the releases from the band as well as releases from David Thomas and Rockets from the Tombs. Also, check out the PR firm for the band Howlin’ Wuelf Media.

To check out the album 20 Years In a Montana Missile Silo from Pere Ubu, click on the album cover below: