No Age: Nouns


Sub Pop

Verbs might have been the more fitting title for the second album from this Los Angeles duo, as the disc is nothing if not action-oriented. Composed of drummer/vocalist Dean Spunt and guitarist Randy Randall, No Age kick up a furious, dingy racket on Nouns—equal parts Daydream-esque squalls of feedback and Liars' rhythmically-charged art punk. Yet for all their noise, No Age choose to rely on songs as opposed to their dissonance-ravaged aesthetic—a key distinction between Nouns and 2008's other celebrated album with a drummer vocalist, Times New Viking's Rip It Off. No amount of clamor or static can obscure the sticky choruses of "Sleeper Hold" and "There Should Be My Home." And this works to No Age's benefit, ensuring that Nouns' pop undercurrents remain audible and that the album's caustic sheen remains precisely that.

To their credit, Spunt and Randall also switch things up on occasion, despite the inherent limitations of being a two-piece. "Keechie" dials down the decibel level for an exercise in fugue-like ambience, while "Things I Did When I Was Dead" dresses up campfire folk with ghostly, ethereal effects. Both are much needed, if somewhat short, respites from the band's usual raucous din.

Whatever the band may lack in subtlety, they more than make up for in kinetic energy—No Age rarely pause to consider what they can seize upon. And the lack of impulse control suits them. Clocking in at just over 30 minutes, Nouns is over in a hurry. But man, what a rush.