Clearing Out the Avant-Garage: Pere Ubu Says Goodbye?

Pere Ubu is signaling that its forthcoming album The Long Goodbye (due June 12 on Cherry Red Records) will be the band’s last.

We’ve seen no shortage of faux retirements in rock, but this one feels like it could stick. Ringleader David Thomas has been wrapping up affairs for some time, issuing a series of box sets and in 2016 staging a superb club tour focused solely on the band’s mind-bending 1975-82 material, upending conventional notions of catalog nostalgia in the process.

Ubu’s last outing, 2017’s 20 Years in a Montana Missile Silo, was its best in ages, but subsequent touring was nixed by health issues surrounding the amply contoured 65-year-old Thomas – who briefly performed in the 1970s under the name Crocus Behemoth.

The nearly hour-long Goodbye is heavily synth-based, recorded mostly in isolation by Thomas, then circulated to bandmates for overlays. Thomas claims it “wraps up every song and story Pere Ubu has been telling the past forty plus years.” Don’t expect anything nearly that tidy.