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Album Review
An Object

An Object
by No Age

Sub Pop

Review Date
3rd September 2013
Reviewed by
Paul Larsen

Having to print, assemble and ship 10,000 copies of your own album by hand wouldn't be most artists’ idea of a good deal. Noise rock duo, No Age however, insisted to their label, Sub-Pop that they could do just that and once they'd completed their third full length record, An Object, they took the music they'd made by hand, packaged it by hand and mailed it themselves.

As kitschy as this sounds, it's actually quite a fitting send-off for the album itself. No Age's previous records have been relatively messy affairs with the core sound centred on a full tilt, reverb-laden wall of noise, but An Object is different. Apart from being physically hand made, the album is made up of a collection of what feel like home-made songs; imperfect and raw like the wares of a flea market, or a self pressed record.

All the components are still here, mind you. Randy Randall's lo-fi buzz-saw guitars and drummer, Dean Spunt's bursting fills and solid rhythm feature again but these elements have been toyed with, deconstructed and twisted - sometimes to breaking point. Opener 'No Ground' doesn't hint too much at the diversity to come with it's familiar searching bass-line, chugging guitars and chanted vocals, but from here things get interesting. Second track, 'I Won’t be Your Generator' takes things off the boil immediately and pulls the listener back to earth with it's lackadaisical, almost dragging pace betraying it's protest lyrics.

Backing this up several tracks later, 'Defector/ed' plays with the script again. Low-key layers of rough-edged bass and twisted effects sit below an almost atonal vocal track, creating what could essentially be a deconstructed punk song. 'An Impression' echoes this with a similarly sparse and scattered feel before 'Lock Box' finally reintroduces some of the volume and haste fans will be familiar with.

This imbalance of pace and volume can create a real sense of unease and make a straight play-through of the record an uncomfortable experience. The quieter, more measured moments of songs like 'Running from A- Go-Go' sit in harsh contrast to the explosions of noise and fun when they let loose on tracks like the grin-inducing ‘C'mon, Stimmung'. Being on a knife edge of either exploding or fading away can be engaging but it can also be fatiguing.


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