No Age – An Object Review

I’m starting to consider being in those California tourism adverts sat next to Arnie with an unhealthily healthy smile as I have yet another Californian band to take a look at and this time it’s the turn of L.A’s No Age who have emerged with their third album. It’s suggested that they lost their way slightly with their second album and that their third effort: An Object is more back to basics relatively speaking. Their promotion for An Object has also been slightly low key too but anyone expecting a departure from their core punk sound than you should prepare yourself for a let down as that core element remains and is fused with Art Rock references to seemingly create a novel sound.

‘An Impression’ is a pretty bare and stripped back track but fills it’s space nicely with the on off bass being plucked away in the background while distorted guitars of MBV likeness wash over the bass. The steady and calm nature of the song; led by the bass allows for the guitars distortion to be used to full effect in creating a wave of sound and filling up the empty space and the vocals are more drawn out and have longer held notes themselves so the space is filled while maintaining the calm and reflectiveness of the song. ‘No Ground’ is less steady and reflective than ‘An Impression’. It’s starts off with the gentle plucking of the higher notes of the guitar until the bass fades in and the more full on guitar joins in with it to give the tune which it repeats throughout the song. The vocals too are more akin to their core sound like the instrumentals are more shouty than melodic but the whole thing just seemed like a tame event and you were waiting for the song to come to some sort of dramatic up tempo conclusion or just for a change in scenery and it never did and it sort of flat lined half way through.

‘I Won’t Be Your Generator’ has a jangling 80’s indie guitar atop a heavy bass line and this leaves much room for the vocals and other subtle synth moments which is the effect that sort of contrast can have if it’s exploited. This song does have more of a destination too. The reverb and effects on ‘Running From A Go Go’ sort of drag the melody of the song out from the instrumentals in an undignifying way but the song improves when the percussion rises above it and some structure appears and the lead guitar elements briefly shines through at the end but not often enough. On the whole there is a good standard of music here which is produced in a clever and non generic fashion, but it really seems lacking in a definitive edge. By no means do I wish for raging guitars all the time; in fact for me the best song was ‘An Impression’ which is more calm and considered. The novelty of the genres they combined was perhaps not focused on and I think several songs sort of fade in the memory a little.

No Age – An Object = 6.5/10

Images from www.popmatters.com / www.nme.com