Deaf Wish Creates Uneasy Listening That Feels Perfect for This Moment

The band’s latest album is desperate, grimy rock and roll.

Album Review

Deaf Wish
Lithium Zion
Sub Pop

Mixing clanging guitar drones, tense voices, and taut beats, the dense, grimy rock and roll of Australia’s Deaf Wish delivers a pummeling punch, but it also feels curiously graceful at times. While attentive ears may detect echoes of all sorts of smart noisemakers, from Nine Inch Nails and Nirvana to Sonic Youth and Unwound, the quartet’s fifth album is ultimately its own distinctive creature, generating a brisk, exhilarating whirlwind of jagged sounds. Highlights include “FFS,” where Sarah Hardiman sneers, “I feel like a fool/Out playing pool, hitting on you;” the eerie “The Rat Is Back,” in which Jensen Tjhung croons, “I’m cracked/I’m cured/I’m home/Sweet home;” and the woozy, six-minute epic “Smoke.” “Lithium Zion” is state-of-the-art uneasy listening, tailor-made for today’s desperate world.