Label: Distile Release date: 19/10/10 Website: Myspace Untied States are clearly a band that like to live dangerously. After all, when an album plops into your music player with the genre heading of 'Unclassifiable', it's hard not to take it as a challenge. Is this going to be one of those albums? Are you about to experience one of those sublime, almost ethereal, moments where a person you've never met subtly deconstructs your understanding of what music is and should be, before calmly reassembling it in their own image? In fact, to this date, only one other album in my collection has been sufficiently bowled over by its own groundbreaking innovation to claim that particular heading. And, given that the album in question was Jóhann Jóhannsson's rather bizarre “interpretation” of an IBM user's manual, it may just have been merited. But Instant Everything, Constant Nothing is not that album. What it is, rather, is a collection of post-punk songs that suffers from the same unfortunate affliction as nearly every other member of the extended punk clan; the inability to translate the raw energy of a live gig to a home listening environment. And so you've probably heard this all before. Discordancy that sounds more lethargic than disaffected. A lead singer that doesn't really want to be there. Guitar licks so aimless they could have been made up on the spot. And in a dark room, late at night, you probably wouldn't notice. But like Johnny Rotten on The Today Programme, under the harsh glare of studio lights it all seems a bit, well, juvenile. Not that IECN is completely without its merits. Every so often they'll hit upon an interesting melody, such as in Grey Tangerine – but then invariably it's gone before you've had a chance to prick up your ears, and you're left with the impression you might have imagined it. Structurally it's much the same story – tracks like Not Fences, Mere Masks tack and jive with all the purpose of adolescence, the band losing interest every 30 seconds and starting again. And there's certainly a willingness to try something new, with plentiful samples and even an analogue synth showing up on Holding Up Walls. But it's swallowed up so quickly by standard issue punk distortion that it really needn't have bothered. Wrestling With Entropy in the Rehabbed Factory, the clear standout track, shows what Untied States are capable of when they shrug off their experimental affectations and concentrate on building a coherent album track. Machine line drum loops give way to a perverse group vocal that's reminiscent of Animal Collective, before slipping into an haunting solitary piano riff – perhaps the only moment on the album where an instrument is given room to breathe. But my guess is that Untied States are a band that will, for the most part, continue to peddle scattered post-punk and call it avant-garde. And it's a shame, because as much as the persistent reverb tries to hide it, they're clearly skilled as musicians. It's just that they seemed completely uninterested in playing music. So uninterested, in fact, that they can't even be bothered to suggest a genre for their album. Rating: 4/10