(Chrysalis Records, CHR 1207, 1978)
Cleveland, Ohio, band Pere Ubu coined the term avant-garage to describe their raw, avant-garde sound. But, what initially was a joke on music journalists, actually turned out to be a pretty appropriate description. Punk, but not punk; new wave, but not new wave; garage rock, but not garage rock; industrial, but not industrial; Pere Ubu took all these styles and twisted them into a unique, arty, dissonant sound of decay with an emphasis on paranoia, angst-filled, dark lyrics.
Released in 1978, Dub Housing was Pere Ubu’s second album and is considered their masterpiece. Darker than their first LP, The Modern Dance, Dub Housing pushed the envelope of song structure and instrumentation. In addition to standard guitar/bass/drums, Pere Ubu experimented with synthesized effects, distorted bleeps and bloops, random conversations, ringing telephones, industrial sounds like steam whistles, while Dave Thomas sang, howled, and shrieked over an insistent, propulsive rhythm.
No more cryptic, disjointed, and unpleasant an album could rightly be called a classic, unless we speak of the perverse fascination we reserve for outsider music. And this could be outsider music in a sense, only created by a band entirely aware of what they’re doing yet seemingly driven to do so. — Stylusmagazine.com
This is definitely not the weirdest thing ever recorded, but it is easily one of the most unique sounding products from one of the most unique sounding bands ever – so that’s pretty unique. Whether you go for this or for Modern Dance or for neither, it must be said that on this release Pere Ubu became their own band and forged an abrasively distinctively sound and made the whole process not only fit together into an album with remarkable flow but also into something wholly enjoyable. — Sputnikmusic.com
Commercially, Dub Housing was not a success. Sales were poor, signaling the beginning and end of their relationship with Chrysalis. In spite of that, the Dub Housing is considered a highly influential record and Pere Ubu has a very devoted following.
If you’re a fan of Pere Ubu, come by Lost & Found Records and pick up on this must-have addition to your collection.