SUPER UNISON: Stella: CD/LP

Stella is Super Unison’s follow-up to their strong debut, Auto. That album struck hard, sounding like a cross between vocalist Meghan O’Neil’s former band, Punch, and the band from which Super Unison takes their name, Drive Like Jehu. Stella shows a big leap forward for this Bay Area three-piece. There are still remnants of that former sound, especially with O’Neil’s screams coming through on many occasions. They give the music an intensity that contrasts well with the post-punk sound. However, compared to their debut, the new material bears a resemblance to Unwound and Dischord Records bands (especially Hoover). The ten songs were recorded by Steve Albini and produced by Don Devore (The Icarus Line, Ink & Dagger), so you can believe the sound is crisp and strong. The album clocks in at around thirty minutes and provides a perfect mix of intensity, anger, and brooding. Definitely in the top five of the year for me. –Kurt Morris (Deathwish, deathwishinc.com)