Album review: Unschooling – New World Artifacts

French post-punk newcomers Unschooling deliver a lesson in experimentalism on debut LP, New World Artifacts…

Album review: Unschooling – New World Artifacts
Jake Richardson

Described by its creators as “an ode to the unexpected… both noisy and sensitive. Hot and cold at once,” this debut full-length from France’s Unschooling – is certainly an intriguing affair. An album whose blueprint is very much “anything goes”, it’s at times thrillingly unpredictable and at others pretty darn frustrating. You quickly get the impression such incongruity is very much by design.

Following a brief and very muffled intro by way of the title-track, first song proper Public Transit wastes no time in demonstrating Unschooling’s quirky approach to songwriting. A jaunty indie-rock-meets-post-punk tune that swiftly moves through a number of tempo, mood and stylistic changes, it’s hard to instantly get a grip on what exactly it is that the musicians behind it are going for, but it’s done so in a way that makes you want to dig in again rather than skipping along to the next track.

Erase U is comparatively more accessible, adopting a more rudimentary structure that gets stuck in your head easier than most of the off-the-wall ideas Unschooling chuck around. Excommunicated, meanwhile, is a darker, urgent affair, which at seven minutes long builds into somewhat of a post-punk epic.

There are times when the sheer unpredictability of New World Artifacts frustrates, but when approached with an open mind, there’s also a good deal of fun to be had. Unschooling have delivered an album where you genuinely don’t know what to expect next, and that in and of itself is a passing accomplishment.

Verdict: 3/5

For fans of: Yard Act, Parquet Courts, Goat Girl

New World Artifacts is released October 6 via Bad Vibrations

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