Friday, 17 September 2010

No Age - 'Everything In Between' (Sub Pop)

Personally, I’ve had a funny old relationship with No Age. It only took me the release of the LA duo’s second full release ‘Nouns’ to discover how much I loved their DIY Lo-Fi punk ethos and pretty much couldn’t stop listening to them for weeks and weeks. During this period I purchased their first album ‘Wierdo Rippers’ and before I knew it, No Age were featured really high up on my charts. Then all of a sudden this phase came to an end. Whether I overplayed them or not? Possibly. But until I first listened to ‘Everything In Between’ their listen count would clock approximately just under double figures in the past year and a half.

Understandably though, I was very excited to be reviewing this album and they have been given a new lease of life. This record has evolved with more structure that is complete with varying ranges and tempos which perhaps was the only thing their previous two releases lacked, yet they still maintain that raw, scuzzy edge that makes No Age so respected within their musical bubble.

Everything In Between opens with a fitting introduction in the form of ‘Life Prowler’ with a pounding drumbeat (literally) followed by a soft guitar loop, then a riff which gradually builds and builds before launching into the leading single ‘Glitter’ which is a fine example of No Age’s evolution. The handclappy beat shows that they do have a Pop influence in them, disguised by layers squealing guitar feedback. Combined with the songs dark lyrical theme, the first 2 tracks are a great beginning to an album.

Tracks ‘Fever Dreaming’ and ‘Shred and Transcend’ are very much like the No Age we all recognise from their other releases. ‘Depletion’ is stunning piece of noise rock that pays homage to Dinosaur Jr. Whether that’s intentional or not, we don’t know, but who cares, it’s a beautiful song nonetheless. There are again some fine examples of dreamy hazy instrumentals on this record, in ‘Katerpillar’ and ‘Positive Amputation. ‘Valley Hump Crush’ cuts out much of the noise and feedback, replacing it with jangly guitars and harmonised backing vocals, providing a slight Yo La Tengo-eque feel that would get away freely as a (as close to commercial sounding as No Age can get) hit single if it wasn’t for Dean Allen Spunt’s drawling vocals. It even ends fittingly too with ‘Chem Trails’ providing a vocal duet and has the feel of a proper old-skool pop song.

‘Everything In Between’, despite my whoring of their previous LPs would probably go down as my favourite release of theirs to date. I have in the last couple of weeks gone back to another No Age phase which hopefully wont fizzle out like my last one as I feel this record has more variety and a less formulated sound, not that it wasn’t effective before. For some reason bands tend to experiment on their third full length release and often may lead to a backlash from hardcore fans. But here I firmly believe that this will not be the case as it still sounds like a classic No Age record, but with more, and with that, No Age are creeping up my chart once again.

Words: Freddy Rothman

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