No Age - An Object

No Age - An Object

No Age have typically made intelligent lo-fi music that borders on the punk rebellion of the Sex Pistols whilst echoing the sonically complex sounds of My Bloody Valentine. The latest effort by the LA boys, An Object, is by far their most accessible of their releases to date, and is every bit as angsty as their critically acclaimed 2008 release Nouns.

“Does anybody really care?” is the mantra of the opening track ‘No Ground’ and it really sets the tone for the rest of the album that is overly indolent and angry. The newfound popularity of the resurgence of punk, heralded in by bands such as Ice Age, is evident on ‘No Ground’. Punchy powerchords and kick drum heavy beats are abundant. The dreamy legato of the distorted guitar kicks in on ‘I Won’t Be Your Generator’ - a track that is as sad as it is well written. It brings to mind the dreary aspects of MBV’s Loveless, minus the synthesiser and flowery vocals of Belinda Butcher.

‘C’mon Stimmung’ is one of the more accessible lo-fi pop tracks on the album. An Object epitomises the grunge revival of 2013 and this track could easily fit onto Nivarna’s Nevermind or slot into Silverchair’s Frogstomp. I couldn’t help but continuously refer to older examples of grungy punk as I listened to An Object; it is definitely an album that sounds as if it was written in the hazy 90s grunge movement. Of course, No Age have always seemed to fit well into the lo-fi resurgence of the late Naughties, but this almost radio friendly release seems to be trying to embrace accessibility and demand for higher production values, involving insane amounts of layering and static to achieve that analogue quality.

‘Defactor Ed’ is just as bummed out. Closing with a repetitive single chord and the word “discontent” being moaned above, it ushers in the minimalistic section of the album, which becomes more interesting and artistic as it progresses. ‘An Impression’ is one part of this section, and is easily the most interesting of the songs on the album. Incorporating exotic distorted string sounds and mathy drum/guitar combinations, the final product is a truly sad song that seems to have given up all hope.

‘Circling With Dizzy’ reintroduces the Ice Age-esque punk elements. Singing becomes yelling, and the drum section is floor tom heavy. The final track ‘Commerce, Comment, Commence’ really departs from the rest of the album. Opening with a rich synth crescendo, with Dean’s vocals singing a disheartened verse, it builds towards an epic wall of noise that engulfs the listener in a dark hug. It gives one that feeling of fear mixed with relief and remains sonically on point.

An Object is an excellent release from the LA duo, incorporating elements of 90s grunge, punk resurgence, and shoegaze, whilst retaining the pop sensibilities of a couple of bummed out teenagers living in California, it is a highlight album from the band and sets a benchmark for lo-fi globally.

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