No Age expands its sound

Dean Allen Spunt, the drummer of No Age, performs at The Fleece in Bristol, England.  (credit: Courtesy of prusakolep on flickr) Dean Allen Spunt, the drummer of No Age, performs at The Fleece in Bristol, England. (credit: Courtesy of prusakolep on flickr)

No Age has returned from its two-year break to release its latest album, Everything In Between. Nouns, the duo’s debut, was a heavy mix of distortion and fuzz. It seemed to blur the lines between a duo and a four- or even five-member band, as a lot of action happened in each of the album’s tracks.

From the first few seconds of thumping bass in Everything In Between, it is clear that No Age is determined to not just release the same album again. In Everything In Between, No Age builds and expands on the initial pallet of fuzz, but also throws in tracks that could easily have been in Nouns. With their sophomore effort, guitarist Randy Randall and drummer/vocalist Dean Spunt have released their most consistent group of songs to date.

On the track “Common Heat,” Spunt utters, “I try to make myself seem vague.” He seems to have spoken No Age’s slogan. While the group is lyrically subpar, No Age has an unnatural ability to craft near-perfect fuzz-pop. Nouns primarily consisted of tracks that were technically two and a half minutes, but were truly only a minute long since they were padded with lots of fuzzy introductions. Everything In Between has a couple of lengthy introductions, but they are no longer filler. As a result, the album has much more substance, more killer riffs, and less filler fuzz.

No Age is representative of tomorrow’s punk scene. Much as Blink-182 introduced pop-punk to the masses, No Age attempts to define a new era of punk — one that embraces the fuzz and squeals of indie rock. It admires Pavement’s sloppiness, the White Stripes’ do-it-yourself vibe, and Sonic Youth’s punk. It isn’t trying to be avant-garde; rather, it is simply crafting songs that urge you to yell and scream — without whining about your life. No Age isn’t emo. It’s punk, and it isn’t afraid to name its songs “Shred and Transcend,” mixing both its indie and punk roots.

Nouns represents the band during its adolescence. It sought to unleash the band’s youthful nature onto the public. Instead of transcending its baser instincts, the band seemed unable to handle being in its mid-20s. Everything In Between lays its late teens and mid-20s to rest. “Glitter” most evidently portrays the album’s theme. Guitars sprawl without venom, vocals drone without feeling, and drums beat without any anger. Spunt continually repeats, “I’ve been wondering when is it my time to get away, and you feel like everyone is out to get you again. I want you back underneath my skin.”

Despite the song’s apparently depressed state, Everything In Between is still a punk album. “Shred and Transcend” is a killer track that seems to be over before it begins despite its 3:21 track length. “Fever Dreaming” is a straightforward romp.

Toward the latter half of the album, there are a couple of tracks that lack their killer instinct. However, this seems intentional, especially as each song is juxtaposed against the other. “Positive Amputation” is a beautifully sprawling track that is a perfect follow-up to the hazy “Dusted.”

Everything In Between is an album that lives up to its name. It marks No Age as a band that is willing to evolve past its initial success. It isn’t relying on its original sound, but it recognizes that it shouldn’t completely alter its successful formula. The album is punk with fuzz, stuck equally between the two. It looks at years between youth and adulthood with regret. No Age is now ready to look toward its future — a bright future.