Reviews

The Uncommitted The Uncommitted LP

The UNCOMMITTED is a solo project of Tim Freeborn, the former singer of Ontario’s SONS OF ISHMAEL, who released one of my favorite EPs of biting juvenile thrash with 1985’s Hayseed Hardcore. Freeborn, now an English professor, improbably weaves lap steel solos into fourteen minutes of otherwise fairly straightforward hardcore, which begins to make sense when you consider his labelmates on Richmond’s Never Met A Stranger label/art imprint—all folk and bluegrass. Freeborn’s voice has deepened significantly over the years, as has his vocabulary—the lyric sheet is a jumble of old-timey esoterica, like a misanthropic McSweeney’s Mad Lib. It comes off a little silly, but self-consciously and playfully so. (I like to play a game when I hear a particularly obscure word in a hardcore song. Does it appear on any other hardcore song in existence? I’m willing to bet many of these words don’t. That itself doesn’t get you anywhere except alongside SHELTER, whose use of “gormandize” in “Civilized Man” is one of a kind as far as I can tell.) Anyway, the UNCOMMITTED has nothing to do with SHELTER, and Freeborn rips through a cover of “Nothing” by the FUGS to reinforce that he’s a proud part of an oddball lineage. It’s a cool and curious record. I probably wouldn’t have sought it out, but I’m glad it found me.