On Quitter, Tunic shares intimate details of their own psyches.
It goes without saying that punk has always been a very emotional genre. Usually expressed as anger or frustration, punks’ antisocial tendencies have made cynicism prerequisites. Sometimes bands lash out at the system, sometimes at themselves; but the common denominator is always emotional expression at its most primal. (I understand this is reductive of a diverse genre, but just go along with me on this one.)
Tunic’s second LP, Quitter, doesn’t feel like a ‘normal’ punk record. Its profoundly personal narrative, blended with the surprisingly expressive instrumentation and vocal performance, is a masterclass in the power of punk to articulate emotions in a way that no other genre can.
Within the first thirty seconds of album opener “Apprehension,” Tunic gives us an insight into the sentiments running through the album. Lead vocalist David Schellenberg’s feeling of abandonment is matched with the raw power of a pulsating drum and bass line. The song explodes into a nitro-fueled nightmare, complete with high-pitched feedback, thrashing guitars, and Schellenberg screaming unintelligibly. Immediately, you understand what Tunic is going through.
“Every second of my meager existence is pathetic / No, it’s miserable,” shouts Schellenberg on “Reward of Nothing.” It’s this constant shifting of perspective, with tiny nuances, that Schellenberg shows us he’s always looking for new ways of explaining his reality. Whether his reality is miserable, pathetic, or something else entirely, he just wants to find a diagnosis.
And that search is loud. It feels like the whole band refused to play at no less than 110% of their capabilities. Hidden within a mix of overloaded soundboards, saturated vocals, and bass lines on the run are little riffs or catchy melodies that only exist for a fraction of a second. Tunic’s talent is undeniable, and the whiplash speed they play at uses the genre to its full potential.
“Fake Interest” is one of the best songs on Quitter. A looping guitar riff drives the song until the band explodes in textbook Tunic fashion, disintegrating into a cloud of sonic exhaust that feels like an old diesel truck starting up without a muffler. Schellenberg manages to keep up with the album’s concept, spitting out “A fake interest in pleasure / A fake interest in success.”
Quitter is such a dense and heavy album that it’s afraid to look at itself in the mirror. Within its eleven tracks, Tunic shares intimate details of their own psyches. The anxiety of the album is expressed through fuzz, distortion, and a whole lot of tenacity.