Worlds in Collision

Pere Ubu is led by the eggplant-shaped David Thomas, whose singing style and appearance are roughly that of an apoplectic Radio Shack franchisee. But that hasn’t stopped him from writing some of the strangest pop songs on the planet. The Cleveland band started in the late ’70s as a ghostly, almost experimental music outfit. There was no commercial future in that, so the band broke up in 1982. Thomas went solo and released a series of ever-more-Ubu-like albums. The band reformed in 1987 as blithe purveyors of luminescent rock, tarted up with tangential lyrics from Thomas, with clicks, whirrs, and buzzes from synth weirdo Allen Ravenstine, and with an off-kilter sense of rhythm and song structure. Not everything works all the time in Worlds in Collision, but on a masterpiece like the title song — a jumpy ride through catastrophe, complete with a five-second murder mystery (the sound of a bottle falling to the ground, a scream, a door slam, and a shot) and a chorus line in French that loosely translates as ”the string beans aren’t salted” — you shake your head in wonder and give Pere Ubu all the slack they need. ”Worlds in Collision” is erratic but more than occasionally riveting.B+

Worlds in Collision
  • Music