Album Review – Theres Always An End (and Always Another) by No Museums (2021) (Self released)

After the brilliance of the Youth Club Is Over album that was released in September 2020, I was not expecting to become all gushing fanboy over another Michael Betmanis / No Museums album quite so soon. However, perhaps due to the extra time lockdown has afforded the world, or maybe even because of it, this Canadian plainly has a lot to say and now.
Not that anyone can genuinely, hand on their heart tell ‘exactly’ what the meaning of his lyrics are. As the art of his lyrical expression is to leave acres of room to decide upon the possibilities of your personal interpretation and just enough space, filled with subtle clues, to inform you you may be wrong (or even right).
My feel is probably influenced by the one quote by American author Carl Sagan that is the sum total of the Bancamp release bio, which succinctly reads:
The universe seems neither benign nor hostile, merely indifferent.
In the context of the above, themes of the depersonalisation of society are developed with repeated images and contexts of constant travel, waiting for modes of transport, photographs of meaningless moments, moving to and from broken towns and generally bleak landscapes, that all serve to provide a distant melancholic aura within the lyrics. Of course this could all be the typical lucid tales of lost love/ love never starting in the interpretations of others, but therein lies the perfect anatgomism that lies in the Betmanis songwriting.
What is clearer is that the man knows how to augment such lyrical intrigue with genuine musical beauty. Jangled riffs are his primary reference point with Does It Still Attack?, Bungalows, Perimeter Won’t Tighten Anymore and The Long Effect all purveying the best jangly sounds that the modern lo-fi rock / bedroom-pop movement has to offer.
Similarly, tracks such as The Sinking Ships, The Winter Hive and Keep The Fire From The Tent are wrapped in a jangly underbelly, but it is a warmer, lower tempo, twanging guitar sound, that is mixed with a The Velvet Underground sense of aloof.
Despite the sheer beauty of the albums primary jangled core, there is always a sense of subtle fuzz present and it is when this fuzz is allowed to become dominant and fully unleashed, in tracks such The Airplanes and I’m Full Up On Centuries that we realize that there may be some sort of rage informing the general indifference to the life experience. These are high octane tracks and provide a caustic ying to the remaining, somewhat dulcet, yang.
The man is truly polific, so who knows, in 6 months time Betmanis might be forcing me into full on fanboy mode once more, with another album of genuine quality. We can only hope, as this is one artist where the waters of prolific, that dilute the meaning of so many artists, never threatens to quell the fire of originality.
 

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