Before punk hardly even existed Pere Ubu had gone a step further. The basslines are filaments of dub, coated and werded-out by synthesizer artist Allen Ravenstine; the guitars lurch in sluggish psychedelia as if under the influense of Can; big David Thomas's birdy voice is a freaky sideshow of arresting seriousness. But put together, you don't hear influences: even twenty years later, Ubu echoes out of the future. Occasionally-- at the end of " Heat of Darkness," in the anthemic  chorus to "Final Solution," punk's un-"Free Bird"-- the band walks it home as well as anyone from the Velvets before to Mission of Burma after. But it's just one weapon in an asrenal; as intellectualized teen Goths with a visceral appreciation for the links between Godzilla and Alferd Jarry, as urban Cleveland poets of the saltmined Cuyahoga Flats, as grotesque-surreal art absurdists who could really play, Pere Ubu was nearly boundless.
Dub Housing opens "I have these arms and legs, they flip-flop flip-flop"; Thomas has never been in finer theatrical form, the unggainly, traffic-dodging humanist. Sound here is murkier in places, but there's a delighted groove present too; fewer real songs, but more musical adventure. Pruning indulgences from all three albums leaves the most luminous C-90 tape in alt-rock history. Drummer Scott Krauss and bassist Tony Maimone dance in cement, Ravenstine is spastic and uneathly without pretense, and guitarist Tom Heman's crescendos aren't announced: they bubble over. Ayleresque free jazz trades off with punk-jizzed boogie woogie on "Laughing"; the shanty "Drunken Sailor" meets a similar joyous explosion on "Caligari's Mirror."


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