No Age – Everything In Between

January 01, 1970

 

 

(Sub Pop)

 

www.subpop.com

 

 

For the last two albums No Age have
projected the sound of joy and frustration alternately, but it has always been
immediate – bloodfresh. There has always been something in Dean’s off-key vox
and Randy’s garage-band guitar that feels itchy, excitable, like a rash. This
album’s ‘Fever Dreaming’ tears that feeling out of the ether and makes it a
manifesto of all that No Age does: the guitar squalls so high and distorted it
sounds like an enraged child. Which is a relief since the openers, ‘Life
Prowler’ and ‘Glitter’ sound almost complacent, a dopey teenage melody pouring
out the words, “I want you back underneath my skin.” Their own fever-baby would
surely sneer and spit. It would surely slur out NO age. NO age. This band is
best with its songs left half-formed, full of childish tyranny and drums
rippling like laughter.

 

The rest of the album is a liveable
balance. There are a lot of dreamy, droney tracks, ‘Sorts’ like one of Animal
Collective’s echo-drenched in-between-songs, ‘Positive Amputation’ meandering
through melancholic piano chords and fuzz, but also plenty of staple
Japanther-style rockouts. Maybe nothing that will suck the fans into a
stage-flood quite so well as, say, ‘Boy Void’ or ‘Ripped Knees’, but there’s
heart there; ‘Common Heat’ and ‘Depletion’ even use galloping, almost folksy
timbres buried in the noise. The biggest coup de theatre, and probably the best
argument for No Age being allowed to mature & explore just a little, comes
right at the end with ‘Chem Trails’. It bursts in sounding chipper and
collegiate enough to send more elitist fans into momentary panic – there’s a
very specific gut-wrench that happens when you realise what you’re listening to
could be inserted into The O.C., have
you felt it? – but within seconds we hear the tarry tones of Calvin Johnson (or
an astoundingly close vocal facsimile, since CJ is credited nowhere), and a
sense of calm returns.

 

Johnson (Or His Facsimile) somehow adds a
context. He acts as the hyphen anchoring -pop to noise-; he reminds you that
twee and punk are barely two doors down from each other and on sugar-borrowing
terms. It actually turns out to be a pretty exciting move – bright, uplifting,
and a fine reason to let No Age out of arrested development.

 

DOWNLOAD: Fever Dreaming, Shred and Transcend, Chem Trails

MERYL TRUSSLER

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