Nothing Fits

(In the Red; 2010)

By Alan Baban | 23 November 2010

Nothing Fits is Tyvek nut-cracked, threadbare, and down-at-heel. The Detroit rockers’ thrilling second LP—not counting the band’s hysterical Fast Metabolism CDR (2007)—rages about underwater cities and future junk; points the finger at mindless consumerism and sounds so eloquently, expansively pissed. It sees the band cut down to a three-piece, cut-up by a name change (so, yeah, technically they’re now called Tvyek) and it’s all been cut, finally, in a proper studio for In the Red. Nothing Fits is Tyvek at their best. This is something of a relief.

Because I thought Tyvek lost it with last year’s self-titled on Siltbreeze. The bee-stung and garbled delivery; the way Lead Vek Kevin Boyer overenunciates only to later reduce his words to a log-jammed, sinusoidal tizzy; the scuzz-guitar tones that petrified their way through songs about steadiness and composure and air-conditioners, needle-drops, social intolerance, and being a senior nerd about life… someone put a brake on the fever-pitch of Tyvek’s unique sound on, erm, Tyvek. See, the record didn’t blow, but it was a self-consciously rigid thing—a “proper” album, too spell-checked, even the messy parts showed foresight. The one ray of hope was closer “Michael Caine,” which omitted no chaos, and which, with its shit-kicking, semi-literate candour, restored some faith that the band wasn’t about to quack into its four-track till people stopped listening. And it did that in less than two minutes. Hell, it’s probably the best garage-rocker of 2009. And here comes Tyvek now with twelve new tracks that sound just like it.

Or sort of but not really. There’s no doubt that Nothing Fits is a high-pressure, unflagging, and energetic piece of work. But it’s also fun, frequently lowbrow, and—to the heathenish—a bit backward. It’s a pared-down record that sounds fucking huge. From “4312” on, Boyer is either not remembering to take his foot off the gain pedal or he’s trying to outwit his songs’ anticlimaxes by rounding out each bar with palavering distortion. Or maybe dude just has a peroneal nerve palsy and literally can’t move his foot off the pedal. In which case, I say fuck off to any medical expertise that might be coming Boyer’s way. That foot needs to stay on that pedal for the foreseeable future.

The future is grim. I guess you could say Nothing Fits is an LP of gridlocked jams. The band stammers through tracks like “Outer Limits”—Boyer concedes it’s “the place to be!”—and the plum-in-mouth declamations of “Potato,” driving for a whole-hearted overexertion even as their own riffs, the lock-motor rhythms push and pull them back into place. “Pricks in a Car” is one of many soap-box moments. First smooth-talking through his nose (“bought and sold and / life is such a bore!”), Boyer is later joined by his band-mates for a rousing chorus: “Fuck off! Fuck off!” The cross-communication lyrics of “Underwater 1” go something like: “day room / space room / no roof / open doors / watch the drier / watch the toaster / windows turning / to mirrors / Safeway bag / NOW STICKING TO MY SHOE!” And all this over snorting and short-sighted riffs—not elaborate, but also not narrow and confined. Call it Private Strain. (But it’s a lot better than that.)

Hard really to talk about individual tracks here. If everything does sort of strike the same note, then it’s a note that Tyvek now utterly dominate. In ditching the cradlesongs of their Siltbreeze debut and embracing the snide and optimistic hardcore at the heart of their appeal, the band has put out its best record yet.