No Age, Nouns

No Age, Nouns

Remember the days (quick caveat: I don’t remember these days, but I think I’m right about this; at least Wikipedia tells me I am) when making music that sounded like how a venue looked was interesting? Those days in the mid-’70s when great musicians were all hanging out together at CBGB, influencing and encouraging each other to do something more original than the other? The Ramones, Television, Blondie, the Talking Heads; they were all there, creating music that mattered. And now we get this?

No Age is inevitably tied to the venue in which they got their break: The Smell, a vegan-friendly (and straightedge-friendly, or so I would guess) underground club in downtown Los Angeles that fancies itself associative of “punk rock/noise/experimental” music groups like the Mae Shi, Health, Mika Miko, and now, No Age. The problem is, nothing about No Age is experimental and nothing is particularly punk. Their second LP, Nouns (their first since being signed by Sub Pop), received a 9.2 (!) on Pitchfork, making it the highest-rated original release this year, which makes me assume Pitchfork and Sub Pop are forming some unholy alliance with designs on owning the world. Because Nouns is blah and nothing more.

I’ve read reviews that compare this record to Daydream Nation, I’ve read reviews that compare it to Slanted and Enchanted, and I’ve read reviews that compare it to New Day Rising. To align No Age with Sonic Youth, Pavement, or Hüsker Dü is fucking ballsy, and the madness needs to stop (I’m talking to you, New Yorker). I think a more apt comparison would be to something like Enema of the State by Blink 182, or maybe Grave Dancers Union by Soul Asylum. The music is monotonous, the lyrics are tedious, and the noise is contrived. No Age sounds like every other derivative hardcore band sounds. Listen to “Cappo” and tell me it doesn’t sound like any number of songs by Thrice (who Pitchfork rates a 6.0). Try to get through “Here Should Be My Home” and pretend you’re not listening to Alexisonfire (who Pitchfork, of course, does not even bother reviewing). “Sleeper Hold” sounds like Jack’s Mannequin after drinking eight Red Bulls, picking up drum sticks for the first time, and turning the volume to max.

No Age is just uninteresting, and I have a feeling they’ll fizzle out in a few years, picking up clean-up duty spots here and there on various legs of the Warped Tour. To compare these guys to Sonic Youth or Pavement…I mean, really? Maybe I got the wrong CD? Whatever it is, something’s gone terribly wrong.

(Sub Pop Records -- 2013 4th Ave. 3rd Floor, Seattle, WA. 98121; http://www.subpop.com/; No Age -- http://www.myspace.com/nonoage)
BUY ME: Amazon

Review by . Review posted Thursday, July 3rd, 2008. Filed under Reviews.

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