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Stuck, 'The Punisher'

Which came first: the dystopian rage or the putrid, spit-and-dirt saturated egg? It's the eternal question posed in Stuck's "The Punisher" video, in a deranged kitchen scene not for the faint of stomach. Like the past few years spent waking up to whatever fresh hell awaits, the Chicago unit's brand of urgent, biting post-punk doesn't go down easy.

It's what makes the downward spiral of "The Punisher" a deeply satisfying ride. Stuck has a Devo-esque proclivity for pointing out the absurdity of modern life, with agitated, trance-like guitar and eerily precise rhythms that chip away at your sanity. "It's so sick living in a fanfic," Greg Obis sings, a nod to the delusions people cling to in times of doubt.

Freak Frequency, out May 26, illuminates building fears around surveillance, violence and justice. But "The Punisher," written after the Jan. 6 Insurrection, asks us to look beyond the black void. We might be living through the decline of western civilization — "a whole new dark age," as Obis aptly calls it — but at least we can laugh about it together.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Loren DiBlasi