Unnatural Ways’ new album The Paranoia Party tells the story of a confrontation with extraterrestrial life with all of the true musical mayhem it deserves — and that’s just on the surface level. Embedded in its cavorting song structures and sprawling scope, the very human feeling of dreading an existential threat makes itself and its complexity abundantly clear. The album’s finale “Cosmic Border Cop” feels terrifically on the nose in that regard. To say that borders occupy a significant place in current U.S. and global political discourse would be an understatement, and this album explores how their brutal enforcement affects the people on the other side.
Crafting a work that operates on as many levels as The Paranoia Party is no small task, but Unnatural Ways founder and renowned guitarist Ava Mendoza proves more than ready. The finished result of Unnatural Ways’ latest creative processes feels as though they’ve put a variety of cosmically slanted styles through a blender and laced the result with an earthy intensity, allowing for the listener to find the shining points of commonality between jazzy metal and heavy noise rock, all while leaving plenty of room to breathe — at least most of the time. Unnatural Ways’ music feels liberated to speak to the soul of the people involved and isn’t just about technical prowess, although those behind this project clearly have plenty of that to go around. Still, they’ve abandoned most standard-bearing genre constructions and launched down their own path.
The Paranoia Party‘s controlled and dynamic, swinging chaos very efficiently represents some of the emotional uncertainty surrounding the situations that Mendoza sings about, and it drives in at least part of the apparent “point” of what she’s doing that much further. To cling to stability in the midst of having your entire life upended might end up an impossible task, no matter if you’re facing a “cosmic border cop” or a wall or any other detaching force. Not knowing what’s going to come next or how long elements around you will stick around describes both the comprehensible musical anxiety of The Paranoia Party and plenty of volatile real life anxiety-ridden situations. The album is sneakily massive in scope, swirling the listener with their vision of just how colorful and complicated the world really is.
Listen below via Bandcamp. The full album drops March 22 via the Brooklyn label Sleeping Giant Glossolalia