Anything Goes on the Final Unwound Compilation


Unwound
Empire
Numero Group

The fourth and final chapter in record label Numero Group’s fascinating history of the Olympia, Washington, trio Unwound collects the albums Challenge for a Civilized Society (1998) and Leaves Turn Inside You (2001), along with stray tracks from the same period. At this point, Justin Trosper (vocals, guitar), Vern Rumsey (bass), and Sara Lund (drums) are in full anything-goes mode. While some exhilarating songs reflect the band’s familiar hard rock and grunge roots, others take entirely different paths, using mellotron, harmonium, and studio effects in unpredictable pieces that can run ten minutes, notably the freeform electro-psychedelia of “The Light at the End of the Tunnel Is a Train.” Not everything works, but even the experimental misfires feel like an heartfelt attempt to develop new ideas without abandoning the anxiety-inducing tension that made Unwound so compelling in the first place.