Uniform, “Indifference”

Spencer Davis

To listen to Brooklyn-based harsh noise act Uniform is to find yourself confronted. Their most recent record, Perfect World dropped last month on 12XU. Featuring Ben Greenberg (Hubble, The Men, Pygmy Shrews) and Michael Berdan (York Factory Complaint, Drunkdriver, Believer/Law), the record features catchy riffs and menacing vocals awash in chaotic noise. That noise is the product of an idiosyncratic process (Greenberg describes it as “templatized”) that confronts the band as much as it does their listeners. Confrontation is also the theme of Uniform’s latest video; paradoxically so, since the track is titled “Indifference”.

The video, directed by Micki Pellerano and shot by Jacqueline Castel, opens with a litany of thematic slides: LOVE / MOTHER / FATHER / ME / GOD / COUNTRY / ENEMY / HAPPINESS…MOTHER / FATHER / ME / What a sad story!” Berdan’s snarl elides the boundary between the visual and the audible, allowing his thrashing and Greenberg’s rumbling guitar hook to harmonize with one another. The video is in that way aesthetically similar to Uniform’s alienating live performances, and indeed it features gorgeous shots of the band performing. Interspersed throughout, however, are more slides: Nazis and kissing men follow “ENEMY”; cars, money, and alcohol follow “HAPPINESS.” Similarly controversial images follow each of the terms listed above, constituting a slideshow that pulses with the song’s insistent beat. The content is at times overwhelming, intimating a dark personal connection between the band and its chosen imagery. If one were to find themselves emotionally unmoved, it would be less indifference and more nihilism.

Indifference, which always has an object, is dangerous when its object calls out for justice. You can find yourself indifferent to “Indifference”, but its disturbing imagery and loud, industrial noise make you work for that nihilism and consider its political consequences. The video, is streaming above.

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