No Age Everything In Between(Sub Pop) Buy it from Insound
No Age’s Nouns, is, in this reviewers less than humble opinion, one of the best albums of the 2000’s. It’s frenetic, joyful, noisy, and the perfect representative of the lo-fi Southern California scene. It’s a damn near perfect 32 minutes that sounds completely improvised, just a couple of skater punks’ bullshitting around with a guitar, drums and sampler and accidentally stumbling upon something wonderful.
Everything In Between proves that it was no accident, establishing Randy Randalls and Dean Spunt as band that’s here to stay on the national scene. They’ve become experts at slowly tweaking their sound to gain new fans and keep old ones. The new record doesn’t break down any new barriers for them; it simply offers something novel enough to feel different yet similar enough to feel comforting and familiar.
The vocals are no longer buried under a thick haze of guitar distortion and feedback. Spunt doesn’t yelp, he sings. His drum parts have become more in sync with the guitar and more varied, something that’s first heard on Depletion. It adds to the increased musical competency on the album. They’re less frantic sounding and a little more in control, which both adds and detracts from the experience. The frenzy and limitless exuberance was one of the things that made them great, but the controlled approach opens the door for exploring more layered sounds and samples.
The increased attention given to guitar layering has made the various loops and sections more audible and easier to grasp, something they hinted at on the 2009 EP Losing Feeling. Texture has always been an integral and unique element of their sound, and being able to hear it in greater detail is the biggest strength Everything In Between has. Songs like Common Heat shine because of it, whereas they would have simply sounded muddled using their previous production style.
“Matured” is an overused word in music criticism, but that’s what No Age have done. They’ve evolved in a completely logical direction in ways that are pleasantly surprising but never jarring. They’re smoother and more proficient, but they’ve lost the out of control enthusiasm that made them great in the first place. The mere fact that they managed to lose that element and stay good speaks volume about them as a band and about the staying power they’re sure to have.18 November, 2010 - 16:47 — Andrew Baer