Artist: No Age
Title: An Object
Record Label: Sub Pop
When LA pairing No Age re-emerged in June of this year with comeback single ‘C’mon Stimmung’, it was safe to say the Twittersphere went nuclear. Akin to the second coming, only if Jesus hung out at Los Angeles haunt The Smell, the band’s devotees lapped up the unit’s storming return. Like an unhinged stumble through post-rock’s noisier outer reaches, Dean Spunt (vocals/drums) and Randy Randall (guitar) offered up an assault constructed around scratchy and abrasive sonics. This was to be the first glimmer to be taken from fourth LP An Object.
Spunt and Randall have approached their latest body of work with the notion of exploring peculiar and unexpected places. The pairing have lent their hand to experimentation which includes percussion being assembled out of lumber and metal and drummer Spunt mucked about with bass guitars and amplified contact mics. With No Age being a noisy bunch, it’s hard to identify where these new tricks filter into An Object, however it’s obvious on ‘Lock Box’ the duo have had some fun with percussion as it sounds like someone is aggressively snapping celery while a grizzly riff cuts like a knife. ‘Defector/ed’ really should be labeled ‘Tremors in the Aviary’ thanks to rumbling bass throbs that disturb sampled bird chirps.
The west coast dwellers may have lent themselves to dicking about with different musical endeavors with An Object but it’s when they go straight for the jugular they sound at their most effervescent. The aforementioned ‘C’mon Stimmung’ is a direct punk rock sucker punch while ‘Circling With Dizzy’ is like The Ramones but armed with chainsaws and shotguns. To call An Object inanimate would do the record a disservice but at the same time trying to find anything tangible amongst the static melee is quite the slog. When the band aren’t provoking imagery of punk godfathers tooling up, their new effort slips into drone mode, with ‘Commerce, Comment, Commence’ closing the album like a long drawn out cacophonous yawn. ‘Running From A-Go-Go’ again channels some kind of animal call, akin to squeezing handfuls of chipmunks but the elongated dirge is characterless and pretty bland. At times Spunt’s vocals can gnaw and grind with tired ambivalence, this coupled with uncompromising aural trudges makes An Object a patchy experience.
An Object, like a lamp or an ornament, is easy to like but hard to love.
Words and Thoughts of Adam Williams