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 [b]‘Weirdo Rippers’[/b]; scratched and imperfect. [b]‘Nouns’[/b], issued the following year, was a comfy fit for new label [b]Sub Pop[/b], ’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 [b]‘Life Prowler’[/b] 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.

[b]Randy Randall[/b]’s acreage of pedals are crucial to the impact of [b]‘Everything…’[/b]; the corking [b]‘Fever Dreaming’[/b] bursts out at Wipers-style speed but is overlaid with Kevin Shields-worthy scree. The most tuneful moment – [b]‘Common Heat’[/b]’s tambourine-toting jangle – is placed next to the least, the melody-free murk of [b]‘Skinned’[/b]. 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: [b]‘Everything In Between’[/b] is [a]No Age[/a]’s ‘Wowee Zowee’, and there’s nothing wrong with that at all.

[b]Noel Gardner[/b]