[CD Review] No Age, 'Nouns' (Sub Pop)

Some bands just get lucky. LA duo No Age (Dean Spunt and Randy Roberts) have hit a perfect zeitgeist moment: They look back at an era of noise-pop experimentation—touching on everything from Sonic Youth to the Jesus and Mary Chain's perversely simple Spector-via-feedback approach to myriad lo-fi-loving characters worldwide—right when bands from the Magnetic Fields to Times New Viking are treading similar paths. If they hadn't already been around for a bit, forming out of the wreckage of the band Wives and having already released a slew of singles, No Age's story would almost be too perfect.

Nouns, No Age's first full-length proper, grew out of several sessions, but it feels cohesive, a half-hour's worth of rampage and woozy flow. (In another example of great timing, No Age capture the stumbling disorientation of My Bloody Valentine rather than their overfamiliar bliss-out mode, just as MBV are re-emerging, as songs such as “Miner” and “Impossible Bouquet” show.) And tracks such as “Teen Creeps” and “Brain Burner” reflect a defiantly pop-on-our-terms aesthetic that feels like early-'90s indie that was never tempted by grunge's brass ring of success.

No Age don't fully innovate as much as recapitulate, showing their individuality in the small touches—the bits of country twang lurking beneath the crumbling swagger of “Eraser,” the trebly kick on the first minute of “Cappo.” And if My Bloody Valentine are an obvious touchstone, No Age subtract the overt love of dance and hip-hop production that made that group's fusions all the more thrilling. Nouns somehow hot-wires a lot of things that seemed played-out into something worth hearing again, all in a DayGlo-pink package, with a slew of great photographs, too. Who knew the Howard the Duck soundtrack (pictured in the booklet) would be part of the future of music?

One Reply to “[CD Review] No Age, 'Nouns' (Sub Pop)”

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