Album Review: No Age – Everything In Between

by J. Lawrence King on September 23, 2010

In 2008, No Age became media darlings with their sophomore release, Nouns: a fuzzed out mixture of noise, pop and punk. Two years later they’ve follow it up with Everything In-Between. The adolescent angst under riding Nouns has now been filtered into a much more mature and complex sound in Everything.

They still layer a dense wall of fuzz and noise in front of Dean Allen Spunt’s vocals which creates a fascinating sense of distance between the listener and the artist like a post-post-modern expression of alienation through mass digital reproduction, or just a simple by-product of that Los Angeles DIY ethic supported by such acts as Mika Miko, Health and Abe Vigoda. Either way, No Age have refined their sound in a way that makes for a more powerful and rewarding listening experience, as well as a profound example of their aesthetic approach to music making.

The opener, “Life Prowler,” immediately strikes the listener with this new found maturity. It begins with a pulsing bass drum that becomes drowned out by layers of swirling noise effects as Spunt drones, “One time is all I need/ to know my job’s complete/ and when I reach into/ myself my past comes true.” This sense of self-reflection permeates the entire album’s lyrical impetus, even though they never stray too far from the noise punk sound of Weirdo Rippers and Nouns, as evidenced by such stand out songs, “Skinned” and its infectious guitar riff or the mosh-pit inducing “Fever Dreaming.” Everything In Between is as melodic and chaotic as its predecessors but it’s also much more emotionally rich.

It seems as if No Age have done what many bands fail to do: mature artistically and emotionally without losing the sound and aesthetic that define their place as musicians and artists in this modern cultural dialectic. Even their instrumental songs are rich with this new found maturity. “Positive Amputation” is as ambient as anything the band has written to date but moves effortlessly into the much heavier “Shred and Descend,” with its other-worldly noises soaring in and out over the crunching power chords before Spunt’s final emerge two minutes into the song. Everything in Between is a perfect follow-up to Nouns: a strikingly mature artistic statement from one of LA’s really great bands.

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