Album review: No Age, An Object
Following the highly-esteemed, excitingly fulminate “Everything In Between”, No Age’s new longplayer has to surrender to high expectations. Entitled “An Object”, the latest album is the fourth in their career as a Noise/Punk duo and, as usual, the first impression of an album is the record cover. In this case it shows the title five times, but every time in a different version: An object. An object! An object, An Object? “An object”.
Listening uncovers that the design of the object itself, with its mystifying punctuation, is a symbol for the inherent audible inconsequence. All endings fade out on the quiet; it feels like they wanted to make a point, but couldn’t, and it becomes a neither/nor album: Neither that clear, nor that noisy, neither monotonous nor deep, neither the No Age one used to know nor any new version of the band. Their label, Sub Pop, states: “An object” is “(…) something both completely different to anything they’ve done before, yet distinctly themselves”. That is actually the truth, but a bit of a euphemistic one. The album is rather a collection than an object, but pressed together they are forced to become a thing, a multi-purpose tool that becomes kind of useless in being in-evident. This uncertainty leaves the listener a bit helpless.
It is an album that contains a lot of hints as to where it could lead, many directions that they could have been going, but didn’t: The sound of a transformation that is not yet complete. It is an album in-between. And again, Sub Pop finds the right expression: “No Age are on fertile ground”. They are, but the seeds haven’t have the chance to grow properly yet.
On first listening, the first three seconds made me fear that No Age could have composed something that could be used in the next iPod advert, but the grouchy bass and the typically snotty, almost unmotivated singing takes away all worries. The song builds up in a typically No Ageian way, adding layer by layer but somehow stopping this development somewhere, making it a bit lengthy, stuck in minimalism.
This can also be said about “I Won´t be your Generator”. It´s nice, not exactly boring, but also not as thrilling as their songs used to be. After this neat, lagging beginning, “C’mon, Stimmung” really brings a bit of “Stimmung”. It sounds like a No Age-style Ramones cover. Linguistically “Blitzkrieg Bob” is not too far away from “Stimmung”. They continue on that level, but again in the manner that is typical for the whole album. Repetitive as the rest, “An Impression” is outstanding with a clear arrangement and single pearl tones, reminding of minimal club sounds that immediately make you want to dance on lightened feet.
“Running From a Gogo” marks a turning point, the album gets a bit more noisy, deeper, progressing towards the last one, a multi-layered machinery, the soundtrack of the metamorphosis that this album hopefully is.
Review by Lisa Says