North Carolina duo ISS have butchered up another charcuterie board of bastardized sound on their latest EP Spikes. Consisting of bored misanthropes Rich Ivey and Edwin Schneider, ISS is essentially the Riff Trax equivalent of a soundtrack to the sinking ship of our civilization.

On every track on Spikes, the pusillanimous pair rip the guts out of unsuspecting punk and new wave songs from the ’80s and ’90s, staple the still steaming entrails to an undersized and water-stained canvas, and then duck out the fire escape while an ostensibly discerning audience is forced to gaze on their crime in shock, rummaging through their reeling emotions for some deeper meaning to it all.

Bludgeoning irony is an insufferable cliche in the contemporary world of underground music, yet ISS make these outwardly belligerent and condescending tracks feel deserving of critical evaluation, despite their churlish and confrontational posturing. “Spikes” is a swaggering, surf-swing that seems to imply that the exponential spread of COVID in 2020 was nearly inevitable given the economic incentives that currently drive decision-making processes in our society. “(Met)forming” is blubbery, post-punk wiggle that makes a whipping-boy out of the passivity our consumer culture all but demands of us.

“Cellmate” is a creepy, amphetamine addled, B-52 scrape, and hairspray huffing coast, while “Facemask” is a hardcore slide of impedient denunciations and directionless shame, and “Popes, Queens, Wings and Things” closes out with a D. H. Peligro-esque beat backed squawk and skank, that collapses in slow-motion, like a Jenga Tower made of broken promises and half-truths, held in place by a constant flow of flatulent hot air. Societal swan songs don’t get much more sardonic than this.

Stream the entirety of ISS’s Spikes below via Bandcamp:

Buy a digital copy of Spikes here.


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