No Ground kicks off the fourth album from Californian experimental punk duo No Age; and it’s just as frantic and mangled as ever, although there seems to be a real format and structure at play here. This is a fast and bold opener, and when it ends with cries of “does anybody care?!” I am just left with a smile on my face, thinking about good old fashioned punk.
A slower turn is taken in I Won’t Be Your Generator, which still has the fuzzy guitars, and almost confusing haze you would expect, but also has a serious and personal feeling – could this be No Age’s version of a slow song? As soon as I start to contemplate the possibility, a new whirl of music starts to fade in, followed by a craze of guitar sounds and a very loud and upbeat C’mon, Stimmung.
Defector/ed is one of the most simple tracks, and yet I can’t quite make out the almost bubble noise the distorted guitar is making. COntrastingly, An Impression is surprisingly beautiful, relaxing, and very cleverly thought out. Lyrics such as “speaking in shades…” and “there’s still a hue, maybe it’s you”, seem like they could be describing a painting, although I’m left feeling from the combination of music, titles and album cover that No Age want us to see this entire piece as an artwork, not just an album.
The chilled vibe is then disrupted by Lock Box with frantic guitar riffs, upbeat drums, and Ramones style vocals, before we come full circle to another haze of blurred guitars in Running From A Go-Go, and My Hands, Birch and Steel. This is followed by another frantic track, Circling With Dizzy, with intricate guitar riffs over bizarre noises in the background.
My personal favourite track – and title – on the album, A Ceiling Dreams of A Floor, has a lovely, pensive vibe and I find myself zoning out from everything else completely while I listen before Commerce, Comment, Commence fades in dreamily. This then fades out eerily in true No Age style.
An Object is everything I have come to expect from No Age with just a little more of, well, everything. When frantic, it is very frantic, when bizarre, it is very bizarre. There is, also, seemingly a lot more thought at play than we have seen before; the album as a whole seems to communicate a lot about space, politics and art. Definitely an interesting listen!