From its recorded-in-a-Cold-War-bunker ambience to the way the fingernails-down-a-blackboard guitars hover just around the point of collapse into cacophony, Settle Down City couldn’t be more Steve Albini if it donned a pair of spectacles and went on a crusade to upset pretty much anyone with a pulse. In the blurb surrounding the album, the inevitable claim is that Louisville’s Young Widows are a new band with a new sound yadda yadda yadda, but whilst there will be something achingly familiar herein to everyone with a hankering for feedback and general noisemaking, Young Widows are as tight as a drum and have already found their feet for toe-poking the inner ear with some boss tuneage. Which is probably nothing less than you’d expect from guitarist/vocalist Evan Patterson—his curriculum vitae features scenester faves Breather Resist, Black Cross and the National Acrobat.
Consequently, underneath the wailing guitars and gnashing of noise-rock teeth, this is one hell of a cool and confident recording. The spaced-out grooves of "Almost Dead Beat" crackle in such experienced hands, whilst the acidic insight into the minds of David Yow and those kooky cats the Melvins on "Mirrorfucker" throws up a fine barrage of noise that, in terms of execution and songwriting, dampens down any accusations of plagiarism. Now, who’ll give us odds on the acerbic Albini himself twiddling the knobs next time around?