This pair of art punks convinced me with their 2007 full-length debut, Black Madonna, and Backsliders seems to be a more confident release, with a greater focus on “songs” and not instrumental bass and drum machine-driven pieces. It changes the appeal slightly, having an exasperated sprechgesang as a counterpoint to the mechanical, almost industrial rhythms.
And that’s a good thing.
The jarring time signature tinkering has carried over into the context of songwriting, although this isn’t verse-chorus-verse as much as it is frantic hallucinatory and (probably) political lyrics from Justin Taylor sang over the arrangements in a no wave style. Like almost every aspect of the Austerity Program’s style, it serves to increase and increase tension, even he telegraphs the word “whore” in “Song 26.” It just makes sense to say “whore” there. I don’t know why.
Like any good EP, it’s far too short with only four songs, and the second half has arguably the stronger material, particularly “Song 27,” which is sang from the perspective of Bugs Bunny. “Song 29” has an uncharacteristically grand finale, which just encourages the listener to hit “play” again and get uneasy with Backsliders from the beginning again.