Best known as the bassist and guitarist of A Place To Bury Strangers for the last few years, Dion Lunadon was recently struck with a “neurotic impulse” to record a solo album. The result is a self-titled collection of 11 tracks.
Each song positively reeks of the tension between the familiar signifiers of garage rock and the ear-splitting wall of noise for which APTBS is renowned. These are songs of desperation and rage, raucous yet undeniably hooky, with the kind of incendiary music that should always accompany such sentiments. The album thrashes with joyous abandon, even as it revels in its own nihilism.
Dion Lunadon opens with an explosion of guitars in “Insurance Rent and Taxes,” a kind of clarion call that feels like a spiritual and sonic successor to Jay Reatard’s “Greed Money Useless Children.” The album barely takes a breath before launching into the next track, “Reduction Agent,” which borrows THAT RIFF from ZZ Top’s “La Grange” (but probably not in the way the Texas trio would have ever imagined).
The drums (courtesy of APTBS’ Robi Gonzalez) and keyboards on “Fire” sound so raw and real they feel like they’re in the same room with you, and they fit perfectly with primal lyrics like “I can’t stand nothing / gonna burn to death / I can’t even sleep / I got hate running through my head.” Fans of the sadly departed Tricky Woo will love this one. “Com/Broke” is a giant middle finger to propriety: “Drown in some dead end bar / Might as well crash a car / I’ve got no reason to hold on.”
The album’s midpoint, “Hanging By A Thread,” is a moody, minimalist mindfuck that paints a picture of exactly what the title implies. It’s also the only chance you’ll get to catch your breath.
“Move” starts like a ramped-up rumination on APTBS’ “Deeper” (from Transfixiation) before a pummeling guitar/drum assault ruptures the melody, wrenches your senses into submission, and doesn’t stop, bleeding right into the next track (“Eliminator”) and continuing further into the anarchic extravagance of “Howl” and a lascivious look at rockabilly (“Ripper”). “White Fence,” a love letter to the band of the same name, opens with a genuinely memorable guitar melody. Lines like “we should play a show together sometime” ooze with unabashed sincerity.
Fans will really hear the DNA of APTBS in “No Control” with its repeated refrain of “never fall in love again,” completely with ravishing, reverbed guitar. And then it’s all over, clocking in a mere 30 minutes.
Dion Lunadon’s first solo effort is short, sharp and shockingly good, and perhaps best summarized by a couplet from Ripper: “You and me, we’ll rip it up / it’s rock and roll, let’s get fucked up.”
Dion Lunadon was released on June 9 by Agitated Records and is currently streaming at Consequence of Sound and Bandcamp.