Saturday, March 17, 2018

Protomartyr - Under Color of Official Right

After the ferocious onslaught of debut album No Passion All Technique, Protomartyr's follow-up, released in 2014 sees them mix things up a bit.  Maidenhead opens with Greg Ahee's clean, lean guitar lines, perfect for Joe Casey to growl rather than bark his lyrics.  They are inclined here, and all over the album to cloak the songs in noise if proceedings get a little too... musical.  Ain't So Simple is almost poppy with a herky-jerky rhythm and a catchy chorus, while the equally catchy Want Remover could be a really noisy Interpol.  Ahee's guitars are bursting with melody this time out on the likes of Trust Me Billy and the almost danceable What The Wall Said and I Stare At Floors.

The pure noise assaults of old are kept to a minimum with only Pagans and Son of Dis ending up as 70 second rants.  The tension-filled Scum, Rise! is a more highly evolved version of these. 

The sparse, stop-start rhythm of Bad Advice points the way towards future material.  Nobody quite spits the line "it was bad advice" quite like Casey.  All the songs here are short, sharp shocks, with only three of them breaching the three minute mark.  Penultimate track Violent takes the intensity down a notch or two, allowing a breather before the final snarl of I'll Take That Applause. 

So a significant leap forward from the debut and Protomartyr's first really good album.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

No Age - Weirdo Rippers

Weirdo Rippers is a compilation of No Age's early EPs.  Released in 2007 it sets the drum and guitar template for their sound.  After a slow build up, Every Artist Needs A Tragedy comes barreling out of the traps with heavily treated guitars and percussion.  Boy Void is a rabble rousing punky stomper lasting a mere 105 seconds with some great trashy guitars.  Shoegazey passages intersperse the album, introducing droney chant I Wanna Sleep and noise workout Semi-Sorted, while and occupying most of the running time of the dreamy instrumental Sun Spots and the static-filled Escarpment. 

My Life's Alright Without You and Dead Plane sound a little like someone took a Ramones song and turned it inside out and pulled it apart.  Which is very good indeed.  Everybody's Down pounds away gloriously, burning out long before it outstays its welcome.  It's not all air-punching, Neck Escaper is dreamily melodic, though a chantable chorus does break through before the end.

There's little time to sit and wait for something to happen here, the thrills come thick and fast, with not a note wasted.  What's interesting is no portions of any song repeat themselves, the surplus of ideas here means each musical idea is aired once only - blink and you'll miss them!  Weirdo Rippers is a good description of the material here, the songs pack a hell of a punch but are just a little off centre, avoiding the obvious and heading for the margins.