Over the course of fifteen years and nine previous albums, I have always seen Los Angeles duo, No Age, as so much more than the experimental punk duo of so many explanatory platitudes. This album could well change the direction of such narration.
I want to use the word polished to describe an emphasis shift in this album, but the album’s general aesthetic still has too much spit and experimental snarl in the propulsion of tracks like War Dance and A Sigh Clicks. This act could never be ‘nice enough’ for ‘polished’.
Maybe procrastination is the word? For it explains the fact that this album contains numerous tracks that benefit from a stalling of tempo and a reduction of the noise, in their general noise rock grumble. Essentially, whilst not totally buffed, this is the sound of their music benefitting from at least an extra breathe.
With this extra musical oxygen the gems are expelled in two primary formats. Initially, there is the Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever languid track propulsion seen in Sandalwood and Agitating Moss. These thrive on allowing dissembled melodies to gain increased prominence whilst Iggy style vocals do their very best to deconstruct them.
Similarly, Feeler (see below), Smoothie, and Puzzled, reduce the tempo enough to allow caustic twanging riffs to twist, turn and suddenly transform, into the sort of disquieting melodies that early Talking Heads prised from a similar attitude.
The album may well get knocked by music journos who wish they were ‘punk enough’ to go to the office with a mohawk, as it now has musical qualities juxtaposed to the omnipresent nosie. However, to the rest of us, this could well be the band’s turning point.