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 [a]No Age[/a]’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. [a]No Age[/a] 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.

[a]No Age[/a]’s sonic trajectory thus far bears strong resemblance to alt-rock legends [a]Pavement[/a]. 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 [a]No Age[/a]’s ‘Wowee Zowee’, and there’s nothing wrong with that at all.

Noel Gardner

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