This review really troubled me for a while. I must have listened to No Age’s new album more than a dozen times during the last couple of weeks, yet I’ve been delaying the review constantly. I guess I wasn’t sure what to make of it. I definitely love it (no doubt about that), but whether it deserves more than that was troubling me.
No Age are basically a duo from Los Angeles, Dean Spunt and Randy Randall, both previous members of Wives. They are part of the new lo-fi punk scene, along with Times New Vikings and Jay Reatard. In other words, home-made punk with lots and lots of noise. With the current music scene leaning towards more mainstream sound (with more and more bands labeled as indie or alternative only to gather initial momentum, usually through myspace and other social networks), this resurrection of lo-fi punk sets me back to the indie rock scene of the late 80’s-early 90’s, with bands like Sonic Youth, Pavement, My Bloody Valentine, Dinosaur Jr. and Polvo producing noisy punchy rock and creating some of the best albums in years. However, the reference to such names is by no means a comparison to this new scene (this would just be so uneven for the new guys and plain foolish), but the sound and the influences are there; time will tell if this turns into something more.
Nouns is the first proper album for No Age, since their debut Weirdo Rippers was basically a collection of singles. This is evident through the album, with Nouns sounding more compelling and defiantly more complete (and better produced). At first, you mind find their sound too noisy to make any sense out of it, however, underneath all those guitar screams and white noise lie some beautiful tunes and guitar riffs. Give each track a second (and third) chance and you’ll start listening to a different album altogether. If however you are looking for something peaceful to listen while relaxing after a hard day’s work or are just accustomed to typical 4 minute songs with the usual heart-breaking lyrics and well-defined sections, please stay away! Then again, if you are able to mute the noise away, you’ll find some of the most satisfying glimpses of rock. So it’s really up to you to decide if it’s worth the effort. For me at least, this album was really worth all that noise!Sleeper Hold and Ripped Knees (for which I had to make a video cause I just love it) are my favorite tracks.