The California punks fail to channel their intense rage into something coherent
Anger, as John Lydon once pointed out, is an energy. And Californian four-piece Trash Talk are full of it. As a live band, their rage is clear – frontman Lee Spielman has puked his guts out, cracked ribs and broken teeth onstage. ‘No Peace’ is the fourth time he and his band – the first outside the Odd Future hip-hop collective to be signed to the Odd Future label – have captured their fury on record. But where their first EP, ‘2005 Demo’, revelled in nihilism (“I have no hopes/I have no dreams” proclaimed ‘No Hopes’) and 2012’s ‘119’ dabbled with well-intentioned but obvious (and occasionally embarrassing) social rhetoric (“Occupy all streets!/Stop me if you think it’s complete/I see you’re displeased/Class war rages on”), ‘No Peace’ comes off more as directionless rage; anger for the sake of being angry.
That’s not to say it’s without merit. It’s bookended by two moody instrumental tracks produced by famed hip-hop producer Alchemist. Each lasts just over a minute and offers sanctuary from the torment of the twelve tracks sandwiched between them. From the sludgy riffs of ‘Jigsaw’ (where “The pieces don’t fit”) through to the Killing Joke-like noise of ‘Just A Taste’ there’s no let-up from the savage assault; vocals and guitars grind together relentlessly to create a barrage of aggressive noise. At times, that aural punishment is exhilarating; ‘The Hole’ and ‘Leech’ share an unmatchable fervour, while ‘Monochrome’ blisters and swells with wrath.
Too often, though, the rage is vague. Devoid of the intellectual intent of hardcore luminaries such as Black Flag or Minor Threat, nor more recent proponents of intense, bellicose noise (Botch, Converge, Dillinger Escape Plan), ‘No Peace’ for the most part ends up a one-dimensional slush of senseless sound.
It’s left to the two bonus tracks – the blunt confessionalism of ‘Still Waiting For The Sun’ and ‘Stackin’ Skins’, which features King Krule and Ratking’s Wiki – to add substance to Trash Talk’s fury. Ultimately, ‘No Peace’ is proof that just because you’re shouting, doesn’t mean you’re saying something.