Losing Feeling EP
(Sub Pop; 2009)
By Alan Baban | 13 October 2009
Nouns is basically the paradigmatic example of a record some people believe fervently in but which I myself believe to be a work of bullshit. There we were, in 2008, with a little slot for a new guitar and drums duo. And here we are now, in 2009, with that guitar and drums duo comfortably ensconced within the elms of the critical establishment and afforded the kind of tough nun importance that makes me reach back and listen each time to discover that, hey, no, I still don’t like this band, I still think they’re ridiculously overrated, and that Nouns is basically the paradigmatic example of a record some people believe fervently in, but which I myself believe to be a work of bullshit.
Let’s talk about this some more. Every band has its own idiosyncrasies that prevent it from attaining my idealised version of a good band. Of course, I’m prepared to accept that their version of a good band is different from my version and that our versions could maybe vibrate in a box together and still coexist, I guess. I guess this is all possible. But why is No Age an important act? There’s nothing overtly bad on Nouns, but there are also no songs on Nouns— the No Age songwriting method was to throw a sort of sonic quadrat onto this noise mountain, cut it off at an even three minutes, and then to like play accordingly. It was a microimmersion.
Their new EP, Losing Feeling, effectively does this again, but it’s better than Nouns, better than the best songs on Weirdo Rippers (2007), and for once, I think, offers this cool idea that Randy and Dean’s next record might move away from the unilateral and slightly prudish use of noise as nothing but noise. Though this is still sometimes the sound of a duck being hit on a road, the songs are better, y’know? “You’re a Target” has these cresting synths that cap each bar, and the usual thwackety-thwack of the chords trots into a cool jive for the bridge before circling back. The title track camel-feeds on a dream pop sample and does the usual No Age bit of blarneying over said sample, noisily, but the drums here are mic’d pretty awesomely—actually, I’d even be happy with another three minutes of this track. Alternately toppling over into cymbal rubble or building up into a kraut-like click, there’s real super stuff here from Spunt; and, again, what could have been a weary and joyless re-hash of this band’s angle (kind of what Nouns was to Weirdo Rippers) is morphed by the end into something more. “Genie” even moves into no-shit post-grunge territory.
So: watch this space?