No Age’s second album for Sub Pop, Everything In Between, builds upon the mastery of their dirty clean sound which traces its antecedents through New York No Wave, Modern Noise, Dream Pop, Hardcore and the kind of adolescent punk which sprung from the ether in LA over the past decade.
Dean Spunt and Randy Randall are musicians using a solid combination of guitar and drum and effects, aiding the normalization of other recent break out two-piece acts such as Japanther, the late and much lamented Death From Above 1979, The Black Keys and Japandroids who use noise in less an abrasive manner than in service to the songs.
This is most apparent on Everything in Between with the excellent “Fever Dreaming” whose distressed and scorched wails are the amazing guitar noises that are half broken robot, half toy keyboard and half screech of tires. Yes, 150% awesome. That’s “Fever Dreaming.”
Though they step out of the expected mold time to time on this album such as with the quiet duet “Chem Trails”, these soft butterflies of chaos are not the songs that you’ll find yourself returning to or adding to party playlists.
Everything in Between isn’t quite a move forward or evolution of the sound No Age has been kicking down stairs since their first compilation Weirdo Rippers. Rather, it’s a lateral move from the excellent Nouns whose combination of minimalist compositions and maximum rock n’ roll got No Age the well-deserved recognition beyond the loft show set.
Frankly speaking, despite the missteps and seemingly out of place songs, Everything In Between contains strong contenders for your year-end Songs of the Year listings while those same growing pains don’t quite coalesce just yet for No Age over all. It’s tempting to hope that this is somewhat of a transitional album and that they are able to once more make the musical leap from the growth demonstrated in Weirdo Rippers to Nouns.
Make no mistake, Everything in Between demands your undivided attention and you would do well to grant it.