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KEN Mode: Success

Winnipeg winners strip it all down for album six

You don’t name your band after a Henry Rollins quote (‘Kill everyone now’) without harbouring a savage side, and so, for the past decade and a half, Canada’s KEN Mode have been brutalising all-comers with their uncompromising noise rock.

But this time around they’ve embraced their grungier side. With brilliantly filthy anti-production from Steve Albini, a man who knows a thing or two about leaving the gunge under the fingernails of grunge, Success is made up of nine howls from the depths.

The Owl has a loose, jazzy feel to it, a sloppy bassline tripping its way under unpredictable slices from the guitar, eerie cello and an edge-of-madness vocal that, combined, suggest a deep love of The Jesus Lizard, while A Passive Disaster and Dead Actors have a Pixies flavour, partly due to Jesse Matthewson’s raw screech and dryly spoken passages. Add perfectly pitched nods to Fugazi, and you’ve got an album that sits among the exalted records that served as its inspiration.