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Album Review
Endless Now

Endless Now
by Male Bonding

Sub Pop

Review Date
2nd September 2011
Reviewed by
Luke Merson

London based three-piece Male Bonding burst onto the music scene in 2010 with their critically adored, fuzz filled and kinetic debut Nothing Hurts. The album, bristling with angst, was comprised of an endearing set of static heavy, catchy punk tunes. Endless Now marks a significant departure from the Lo-fi production values of the early success of Nothing Hurts. The trendy fog of distorted vocals is no longer the dominating force. Endless Now serves up an album of cleaner, catchier choruses. Sure there was the odd line you could sift from the static and sing along to on Nothing Hurts but it was an album typical of the Lo-fi trend of the past few years. Instead of revealing a hollow lyrical core, Endless Now’s refined production brings Webb’s vocal prowess successfully to the attention of the listener.

The album’s opening track Tame the Sun foreshadows the fresh sound of the albums following songs. A familiar pop-punk drum beat is set against vibrant, blurry guitar, with guitar riffs reminiscent of those on Weezer’s Blue album. Endless Now’s stand out track, and first single, is Bones. The song’s guitar finds itself clinging to the distorted roots of Nothing Hurts, with the vocals flying clear of any of this static. Webb’s affecting lyrics echo dark sentiments of forgotten dreams. The song is tied together by an infectious drum beat that extends throughout the song’s six and a half minutes, making it twice the length of anything on Nothing Hurts.

One of Endless Now’s strongest features is the way Webb’s almost dreamy vocal tone counteracts the typically frantic guitar riffs. Where Nothing Hurts pulled listeners in with individual, unconnected noise rock gems, Endless Now succeeds in producing an album of a relatively coherent pace, punctuated with attention grabbing chorus lines. The chorus of Channelling Your Fears is a perfect example, a quietly inviting intro explodes into a bouncing baseline that pounds along while Webb echoes the feelings of Bones, expressing his ever present yearning for a return to the disintegrated dreams of his past, When all your dreams burst at the seams/ and it’s never right. The album is capped off by the strong track Dig You Out. Powerful chord transitions fly against the taunts of crisp vocals. The backing vocals have a Wavves – King of the Beach feel to them, punctuated by more bright, metallic guitar riffs. This characteristically catchy melody is comprised of numerous, well-crafted layers, perfectly illustrating the bands more mature sound.

Endless Now artfully maintains that feeling of teetering on the edge of chaos that Male Bonding pulled off so well on their debut, whilst stepping it up another level with the addition of decipherable and meaningful lyrical content. The lifting of their hazy noise-veil could have potentially alienated original fans, but the unrestrained strength of their thrashing music combined with Webb’s polished vocal lines will appeal to old and new fans alike. Endless Now secures itself as one of 2011 most solid noise rock albums and deserves to be on heavy rotation well into our summer months.


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