No Age used to be easy to explain: punkish, artsy, L.A. nonsense noise. The duo sponsored a skateboard company and threw raucous live shows. Par for the course – so much so that when they released third studio album Everything in Between in 2010, it took forever for people to realize it was great. There was a self-awareness in the sound that hadn’t been there before; still distinctly Los Angeles lo-fi, but airier, dustier, and all-around more sonically thought-out.
If No Age‘s game is to pretend to be straightforward, their newest full-length An Object is playing right along. The album, streaming now online but not officially out until September 20, never quite lets itself be melodic. It’s constantly mixing in noises like chirping birds and bassy voices that make the whole thing sound exterior, removed, but also contribute to the album’s strange cohesion. For Christ’s sake, there’s even a beautifully orchestrated violin duet that comes in on “An Impression”, and no one bats an eyelash.
NPR’s All Songs Considered intern Thor Slaughter, also a friend of mine, recently chose An Object‘s first track, “No Ground”, to play on the show, to which host Bob Boilen said “ohh yeah, I’ve never heard WAHH WAHH WAHHHHHH before.”
I dunno, Bob. I’d say give the album another listen, this time with no thought to what No Age has ever claimed or tried to be. My gut says you’ll change your mind.
An Object is streaming in full on NPR.