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Pennsylvania

4.2 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Audio CD, March 17, 1998
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Pere Ubu began life as an art-punk outfit from Ohio that were able to perfectly pull off their artistic pretensions because they never forgot how to rock. Eventually, they got caught breathing their own fumes and dissipated their attack. Sometime in the late '80s they reformed and pulled it back together with all the elements in tight focus: synthesizer blips and bleeps, guitar noise, and David Thomas's tweedy-bird whine discussing the destruction of America one parking lot and shopping mall at a time. Pennsylvania is their 11th album and sounds like what you'd expect a late '90s Pere Ubu album to sound like. The occasional hook, an overriding sense of doom and plenty of artsy-fartsy noise. --Rob O'Connor

Review

Cleveland's masters of beautiful dissonance are back with a potent vets-and-rookies lineup, pitting David Thomas' gulping falsetto against a rhythm section that rocks and lyrics that do their best to disorient you from the rhythm. -- Entertainment Weekly

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Woolie Bullie
  2. Highwaterville
  3. SAD.TXT
  4. Urban Lifestyle
  5. Silent Spring
  6. Mr. Wheeler
  7. Muddy Waters
  8. Slow
  9. Drive
  10. Indiangiver
  11. Monday Morning
  12. Perfume
  13. Fly's Eye
  14. The Duke's Saharan Ambitions
  15. Wheelhouse


Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 17, 1998)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Tim/Kerr Records
  • ASIN: B000005ZFS
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #822,126 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Alex Bennett on April 21, 2002
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I have been a fan of this group since their second album. I have seen them twice and David Thomas (leader and vocalist) a few times on top of that. I have 8-10 PU and DT albums. (I have even corresponded with DT.) This is a strong effort. Of course I like their first two albums, but Tenement Year and Sound of Sand are later efforts you should buy before buying this (if you can find them!). But it was a tremendous relief to buy this latest Ubu album and smile with contentment and delight. These are musicians with vision and control who know how to work together. In other words, they know how to rock, but choose to make their mark on the fringes of your consciousness. And David Thomas is exploring relatively new territory. What an amazing artist to keep fresh like this! All that said, I put on this album when I am doing housework or bills or other tedious work. Then its infectiousness comes out. But I think it has limits worth recognizing. It is ambient in nature. As such, it is extremely good, and on certain banal days cannot help but cheer you up, or at least realize life isn't so bad after all with people like Pere Ubu around to celebrate it with.
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Format: Audio CD
Ignore the critical drudges who inevitably take the occasion of a new UBU to talk about how much they dig MODERN DANCE and DUB HOUSING. PU's last two records are as good as anything they've ever done and that's to say they're pretty great. So be ahead of the pack and love them now. Then, if you're a critical drudge in 20 years you can say "as I said at the time..."
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Format: Audio CD
"Pennsylvania is the place you have to go through to get where you're going"
Pere Ubu have been blazing their own trail through the vast wateland of american pop music and culture for over 20 years...This CD epitomizes everything that is so great, fantastic, sadly tragic, visionary, awe-inspiring, and important about both the group, about our lives, and about the birthright that consumer culture and the media have stolen from us. That we are trapped in an era when real message and meaning has been displaced by glib soudbites and a subliminal corporate takeover of america that has turned most of us into passive spectators desperately searching for meaning....
This album is 10 times more relevant,revolutionary and satisfying than pretty much any other recent rock album I've heard. Maybe someday they'll actually receive some of the financial success they so richly deserve..
"Mr Wheeler ? I got an old lightbulb...been in my family 75 years...75 years&q! uot;
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Format: Audio CD
This album, in my opinion, outranks Tenement Year as a signal of a new version of Ubu, and it continues the notable strengths of Raygun Suitcase admirably. True, sections do grate and occasionally grow muddled. The production tends to become glutinous and gloppy instead of feral and barbed. Yet, for fans, this is a keeper.

Highlights for me are the first, the seventh, and the last, track fifteen that fades after a few minutes only to return a few more later with a vengeance and a jam that seems to flow marvelously and churn relentlessly. If you like Pere Ubu, you'll surely want to hear this album from the late 90s. I think it's one of their most varied, and the chug and chant of David Thomas' vocal style, half poet, half crank, makes an effective foil against which drums roll, synths squeal, and the bass and guitar twist and turn. The album threatens to slip into itself with similarly paced tunes, but the three strongest songs manage to wrench the works and botch the plan satisfyingly. Lyrics tend to match the mood of the ornery music: our contemporary excuse for a culture, our malaise, and our greedy and wasteful pig-headedness. Fittingly, the back cover has a primitive painting as if from a store's outside wall, of a bear chasing a man up a tree.

This issue on the British indie label Cooking Vinyl (best known for hip folk-inspired outfits) did not receive enough attention upon its release, but it sounds fresh and prescient in this decade, and deserves a wider audience. The band is vigorous and alert. The singer is armed with irony and imagery. Parts annoy, and other parts intrigue: Pere Ubu as it should be.
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Format: Audio CD
This Pere Ubu album is best enjoyed as a whole. From the beginning track "woolie bullie", which slides into a rhythmic cry to the flawed society, accompanied by an insect life guitar noise and a machine keyboard, to "my name is", an echoed 15 minute hidden track with the words "my name is" repeated to the point that it blends into your surroundings, Pennsylvania is a record that takes you to a world that bleeds instrumental cries. I particularly like the song "Perfume", with a slide that sounds like a knife being sharpened. This is one of my favorite pere ubu albums, next to "Terminal Tower" and "Ray-gun suitcase". Pennsylvania has the cool sound of "New Picnic Time" with earthy base and powerfully soft vocals. It is great music to listen to while your walking or commuting.

By the way, I didn't mention the other pere ubu albums to be a pretentious creep, but to get people to get those records, too.
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