No Age Has "Everything In Between" 

CD Review

A simple skeleton supports the flesh of No Age's music: drums, guitar and understated vocals. The duo manipulates these limited elements so adroitly, however, that you're likely to forget how small their set of tools is while the hypnotic buzz of Everything in Between (Sub Pop) pours out of your stereo. If heard by itself, the screeching motif of "Fever Dreaming" would sound like a reason to take your car in to the shop. But worked into the fast, fuzzy bliss of No Age's instrumentation, it becomes the memorable part of the song that's pleasantly stuck in your head long after you've stopped listening to it.

The biggest deterrent from the pleasure of No Age's music is the vocal style. It sounds as though members Dean Spunt and Randy Randall are trying in an affected way to sound unaffected and apathetic. The result is a grating vocal melody not too far from spoken lyrics, and almost worse for the short distance, becoming a presence that you'd rather ignore but can't. It's reminiscent of an exasperating habit of speaking your teenager might pick up because it's the way the "cool" kids talk at school--a phase you hope he'll grow out of soon.

Part of the lo-fi charm is the juxtaposition of primitive sounds with modern electric effects. The rubbery slap of the drum that continues throughout the opening song, "Life Prowler," is joined first by a clean guitar melody, then fuzzier guitars glide in as the song progresses. Many of the tracks on Everything in Between feature this well-calculated progression from simple to complex, where riffs and electronic effects are stacked on top of each other one at a time. This calculated sound distinguishes No Age from some of their more traditional lo-fi counterparts and no doubt has evoked comparisons to Sonic Youth. However, No Age features a more restrained form of noise experimentalism than Sonic Youth, tending not to favor six-minute stretches of feedback.

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