The Unit Ama – The Mason’s Mallet

July 29, 2013


Is this the first official release from Tusk Festival 2012? I think it is and it’s a corker. Local legends The Unit Ama’s set from the aforementioned weirdo weekender has been made available as a 12″ disc of wax through the Tusk label.

If you remember their debut album from way back in 2005, you’ll remember that it sounded like the beefier side of ‘math rock’, drawing comparisons to bands like Shellac and Bitch Magnet, with a free improvisation twist added in for good measure. After that, other than a few sporadic live appearances, they disappeared.

They’ve made a welcome return though and The Mason’s Mallet shows us why. It’s like they never left us. I was there to witness the set first hand and it’s the perfect blend of thick, crunchy guitars, improvised guitar fiddling and over the top theatrics that make them such a memorable and loved band. Sycamore is one of those noise rock greats, complete with a really meaty riff and throat straining vocals, which soon descends into their signature free improv stylings, stripping the entire thing back to its bare bones. ‘Sable’ has a similar structure but still manages to sound like it’s coming from a completely different angle. Slow, head noddingly intense guitar manages to warp and mangle its way into a freestyle bass plucking and loose drumming frenzy. Set closer, The Collector is an amalgamation of all things Ama. Over the top theatrics come into play as they ask for cheers from the crowd, playing to their expectations, an array of quirky instruments are brought out and hand claps make a welcome appearance. The band manage to show us that while they’re seriously trying to deconstruct the rock music they start out playing, they still have a sense of humour while doing so, something that tends to be a rarity of late.

The Mason’s Mallet is out now on Tusk.

You can stream the first half of the record over at the Tusk Festival bandcamp too.


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