Album Review: Negative Scanner

by Hanna Lustig


Three defiant chords open Negative Scanner’s self-titled debut album (dropped today! stream here), ringing out like sirens before a looming tempest. But then, charging through the ominous silence, comes the voice of Rebecca Valeriano-Flores, her emotive warble perfectly balanced by thrashing instrumentals from guitarist Matt Revers, bassist Nick Beaudoin, and drummer Tom Cassling.

Moments like this, from the record’s first track, “Ivy League Asshole,” reveal precisely why Negative Scanner has earned so much recognition within and beyond Chicago’s DIY scene. Led by Flores, Negative Scanner is the studied reckoning of late 70s influences (Siouxsie, The Fall) and modern experimentation. The result? Music made in post-punk heaven by a band named after a device that converts film into high-resolution digital images.

Fueled by the angry momentum of “Ivy League,” the album hurdles into “Criticism,” a frothy, take-no-prisoners follow-up that screeches to a halt before picking up again in the slow-burning fourth song, “Low.” From there, Negative Scanner swings into a spate of punk anthems including the frenetic “Gone Wild” and the eerie “Planet of Slums.” But it’s the dueling complexity of tracks like “Would You Rather” and “Fan Vs. Wild” that truly won my heart, both of which culminate in the haunted, wailing strength of the record’s final song, “Pity.”

Speeding by in 28 tightly-packed minutes, Negative Scanner rants, raves, and ravages, leaving you panting after just eleven tracks. But believe me, BUSTies, this creative storm is definitely worth weathering. 

Images courtesy of Trouble in Mind Records

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Founded in 1993, BUST is the inclusive feminist lifestyle trailblazer offering a unique mix of humor, female-focused entertainment, uncensored personal stories, and candid reporting that tells the truth about women’s lives.

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