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Album Review: No Age - Everything In Between (Sub Pop)

It's got weird ugly shit on it, but also some properly beautiful tunes - the new Pavement anyone?

LA duo No Age’s on-disc evolution has been as linear as their actual music, well, hasn’t. Highlights from scattered EPs comprised 2007’s ‘Weirdo Rippers’; scratched and imperfect. ‘Nouns’, issued the following year, was a comfy fit for new label Sub Pop, ’90s indie-rock classicism that didn’t scrimp on the tunes.

And now? Chiefly, they have progressed in confidence, rather than accessibility or grandeur. No Age will never be legit superstars, but they have a keen and loyal fanbase, something cherishable in a year likely to be paradoxically remembered for forgettable chancers. Thus, they have made the record they want, ugly and beautiful clashing until it’s a mystery which is which. Opener ‘Life Prowler’ prods you with a single, stuck-needle drumbeat and spirits you away atop an effects pedal setting which cheaply, and excellently, imitates a full string section.

Randy Randall’s acreage of pedals are crucial to the impact of ‘Everything…’; the corking ‘Fever Dreaming’ bursts out at Wipers-style speed but is overlaid with Kevin Shields-worthy scree. The most tuneful moment – ‘Common Heat’’s tambourine-toting jangle – is placed next to the least, the melody-free murk of ‘Skinned’. You never know what to expect next – until you realise you’ve absorbed the album’s jags and contours, that is.

No Age’s sonic trajectory thus far bears strong resemblance to alt-rock legends Pavement. Leading off with legit lo-fi bangers, proving you can write proper tunes before exercising their right to be weird and cranky: ‘Everything In Between’ is No Age’s ‘Wowee Zowee’, and there’s nothing wrong with that at all.

Noel Gardner
7 / 10

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