It’s been three years since the release of 2010’s ‘Everything In Between’; an album of warm, fuzzy rock songs that was well received by critics and listeners alike, and is an album I value very highly. Needless to say, a three year gap has left me keen for new material, and this material comes in the form of ‘An Object’, which is due for official release on the 19th August.
The bands fourth album doesn’t differ too much from what we’d expect from No Age in that it’s something we wouldn’t expect from other artists. It’s 30 minutes of hazy noise rock, with faded out guitars and simple vocals, being far more relaxed than it’s predecessor in terms of sound. The guitar and toe tapping drum beats complement each other well, like on tracks such as ‘C’mon Stimmung’ and there is a clear chemistry between Randy Randall and Dean Allen Spunt. ‘An Object’ is minimalistic in terms of sound, as is expected of a two man band, but never really suffers as a result. There are no soaring instrumentals or vocal harmonies, and the album comes across as quite reflective, with relatively depressing lyrics and delivery. It means that the songs glide along, and carry each other, floating on simple instrumentals and monotone vocals, never being overly abrasive or calm. The album has its faster rock songs like ‘Lock Box’ and drawn out calm songs such as ‘Commerce, Comment, Commence’. The record as a whole sounds ‘dated’ in a sense, being akin to releases of the early 2000’s albums, such as ‘Is This It?’ by The Strokes as a result of it’s stripped back approach, and basic production. This production complements the overall tone of ‘An Object’ very well and matches the songs the album contains. Some songs include sounds like bird noises (‘Defector/Ed’) or static in the background which add a very disjointed feel to the songs, as well as adding more to sometimes basic and repetitive song structures. The same can be said about the addition of other instruments such as violins (‘An Impression’) which allows for experimentation and diversity. It makes for quite a psychedelic listen experience to an extent, with hazy synths and basic vocals merging with simple guitar chords. ‘An Object’ is the musical equivalent of floating at its most mellow moments, and falling at it’s most brash.
‘An Object’ is a difficult record to describe and form an opinion on because it oozes uniqueness (weirdness), quality and nostalgia in equal measure. It doesn’t sound like an album released in 2013 and this is one of the better things about it. It’s a record that offers something different in terms of its sound, without being over the top or under powering. ‘An Object’ experiments, and is a breath of fresh air by doing so.
Rating – 8/10
2 thoughts on “No Age – An Object (Review)”
nice review for a difficult album to review. my opinion on it is that they had a lot of good ideas, but didn’t execute them well. the songs do not build like those on everything in between or nouns. the songs, with the exceptions of “a ceiling dreams of a floor, an impression, i won’t be your generator and c’mon stimmung” float around without any core melody or progression. Defector/Ed seems to always be on the verge of a breakthrough, but it never reaches a climax. Many of the songs could really use some more percussion (borrow the cymbals from nouns?) and the use of the bass contact mics really failed in my opinion. Lock box and Circling with dizzy seem to be a more “progressive” take on the ramones, which really don’t work for no age.
I love no age, but they and sub pop have become really pretentious. their whole press release was really ridiculous. I say, forget the ego and go back to making noise rock.
Thanks, and I know what you mean to an extent. It is an odd album, with a fairly mixed array of songs, but I saw it as refreshing rather than pretentious. It’s definitely a step away from their past sound, but I always respect a band more for pushing their sound and trying to develop it. I guess it just depends on how you view the progression. Thanks for giving me your thoughts though, it’s always interesting to hear a contrasting opinion to your own.