David Thomas, the corpulent mastermind behind these seasoned Ohio art-punks, calls his group’s grotesque noise ‘avant-garage’. It’s a half-joke that nonetheless tethers Pere Ubu’s raw stomp and clatter to their refreshing experimental tendencies. On Lady from Shanghai (Fire Records), Thomas is as committed as ever to snatching discord from the jaws of melody – and vice versa.
So we get an album that begins with ‘Thanks’, a synthpop song gone only very slightly wrong, and ends with the static-ridden crawl of ‘The Carpenter Sun’. Burbling and wailing over electronic hisses, clattering drums and guitars, Thomas is a disconcerting guide through this barren sonic wilderness – but follow in his footsteps and you’ll come out grinning.