Carving out a following at the all-ages, Los Angeles-based venue The Smell, noise-pop duo No Age have spent the last few years making a big name for themselves. Not only have Deerhunter's leading man Bradford Cox, Radiohead’s Colin Greenwood, and numerous others proclaimed their love for No Age, but their second full-length album Nouns placed number three on music monolith Pitchfork’s “The 50 Best Albums of 2008.”
That being said, No Age has some considerable expectations to live up to, and their latest effort, Everything In Between, lives up to every single one.
Everything In Between is like a zipper — it takes No Age’s fuzz oriented, experimental side, overlaps it with their infectious pop side, and expertly meshes it together to form an album chalked full of catchy tracks that race in and through the listener’s head.
The pounding drums, overlapping vocals, and sly guitar picking of the album opener “Life Prowler” sticks in the brain like an expensive adhesive. The standout single “Fever Dreaming” runs frantically with punk guitar and ravaging sound sample. There’s a sweet gumminess to most of No Age’s music that sticks in the brain. Almost every song springs to life with a ridiculously striking hook that forces immediate attention, be it a frenzied guitar riff or a frantic, thrashing drum beat.
The album’s only flaw lies in the lackluster quality of the more experimental, noise-driven instrumental tracks. Songs such as “Dusted” and “Katerpillar” are interesting musically, but leave little lasting impression upon the listener.
No Age said Everything In Between was "a culmination of reflecting upon life's ruptures and triumphs... the process of moving through these moments banged and bruised." It’s a culmination alright, a culmination that has somehow managed to stand up to all the expectations placed by their previous efforts. As the duo croons back on forth on the closing track “Don’t want to be anything but you,” everyone will agree that they don’t want No Age to be anything but themselves.
Album Grade: A- (It's actually a 89.5, but I'm not like one of those dick teachers you had in highschool, I round up)
Joel Samson Berntsen (Infinity Guitars - Sleigh Bells)