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Polaroids Of Androids

Record Reviews

7.1

No Age
Everything In Between

Regardless of the level of success, it's undeniable that it often bleeds into safety.

"Leave the safety off".

A small piece of advice, but these wise words offered up by Senior Sergeant Livin' as you first stepped out onto the the mean streets of Life would eventually save everything.

And of course Everything, in this case at least, is No Age's grit, determination and genuine passion. Without it, they're simply just a bunch of skate cunts playing punk songs.

There was plenty of that aforementioned passion on their debut, Weirdo Rippers, as the duo perfectly mixed sloppy punk jay-walking with an endless ocean of grinding atmospheric noise. They then worked on scrubbing the edges slightly, pushing the boundaries of their sound once more, and produced a more refined version of their original blueprint, in the form of the almost faultless follow-up Nouns.

But Everything In Between lacks the imagination of the group's first two records. More than anything it feels like the band lumping a bunch of songs together just for the sake of it, rather than to see where they can next take their sound. The required level of passion occasionally pops up — most notably on the unique soundscape of clear standout Glitter — but it often feels like the band are merely tracing their former successful outings in an attempt to deliver what is expected rather than what feeds their artistic desires - something that's always a clear sign that either a band is becoming forced into a predictable mould or, worse still, running out of ideas.

It's not all abortion pills, murderous plots and suicide pacts though, and, much like the career of Sir Arthur MacCarthur, the album is saved from disaster primarily by a large plethora of memorable one-liners, most notably at the fairly explosive/impressive first quarter of the album — including the optimistic "keep on dreaming" chant on Fever Dreaming, as well as the "I want you back underneath my skin" teeth-clenched lyric on the previously mentioned punk-love pick-me-up, Glitter.

But the predictability and, for lack of a better word, 'dullness' of songs such as Common Heat and Valley Hump Crash completely nullify the record's memorable pop quiff opening. By the time we're faced with the "arty" double feature at the album's middle-point — Skinned and Katerpillar — it's hard not to reach for the skip button. And the suicide hotline. These two songs by themselves aren't that bad, and would have been tolerated and most probably welcomed as refuge points on the band's first two records, but now, when sandwiched between two effort-free wandering exhibitions, they both feel like genuine chores. While this is possibly just a case of poorly thought out track ordering, it ultimately kills the flow of the record, making it difficult to pass through from start-to-finish in a single sitting.

Everything In Between feels like No Age becoming too comfortable in their fitted vegan pants for the first time in their career. Their lawyer may stand up in court and defend it as being the logical development of their sound, adding a richness to their rough charm and widening their arsenal just enough to ensure they have plenty of avenues to explore as trends change. But we all know that's just hearsay and it's impossible to tell what tomorrow will bring. Let's just hope it's a return to the group's former creative exploration.

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Record Reviews
No Age

 

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