In the past month I’d come across the name No Mistake twice, both times from people whose musical tastes I respect. I thought it worth my time to check out what was going down with this band, which for anybody looking for something more notable to pick up on, includes Mike Bullshit from NYHC legends Go!.
This self-released album (free download available via Bandcamp) features 13 tracks of biting, aggressive hardcore which features a slight metallic edge to it and makes good use of the stop/start approach reminiscent of What Happens Next? as well as being able to build up some tension through slower moments before unleashing a furious aural assault. On top of some strong guitar work comes some really snappy drums that, remarkably, bring to mind Crass on occasions, something one doesn’t expect from a fairly straight up and down hardcore band.
Starting with an ode to me (okay, not really but I’ll claim it as being that way), “Rich’s Song” is a neat instrumental that rips along for 70 seconds before leaping straight into “Crossed Words,” a mighty hardcore track with time changes that I really enjoy. For me hardcore like this is really hit or miss and perhaps that’s why my own knowledge of the genre might be lacking as I don’t have the time or inclination to wade through the dross to find things I like. However, No Mistake provide me with everything I would want from the genre with razor sharp guitars, fast paced drums, group vocals/shouts, big riffs and bags full of energy.
The longest track on the album clocks in just short of two minutes. “We Stole Hawai’i” highlights the fact that taking what is not yours with the aim of profit and self-benefit is not just a 20th century onwards malaise, and in fact, is perhaps less overt now than it was further back in history when nations plundered and stole whatever took their fancy.
Another joy of listening to hardcore is how an issue can be condensed into such a short piece of work but in doing so it still has the ability to say so much about what is wrong with the world and/or a situation. No more is this evident than in the 30 seconds of “Expiration Date” with the clear and concise lyrics: “Our legacy is plastic bags and nuclear waste / Our gift to our children what we leave behind / It'll never fade, never fade away / Expiration Date / NEVER.”
In addition to that serious side, it’s good to see/hear something more jovial, if that is possible within hardcore, and here that comes in the form of “Unibrower,” a brief song bemoaning someone without the ability to ensure his head contains two eyebrows and not one! Who says hardcore can’t be amusing?!
The 13 tracks here are all relatively short and sharp, coming in at around 14 minutes in length, give or take a handful of seconds, so I guess if you see the band live you could expect to hear the whole record played at least.
I happily took the free version of this album but have since ordered the CD itself at only $8.50 (just over £5) including postage to the U.K., so as the 12th track on the record states, “What a Bargain!”; although if you want more of a bargain the cassette version is cheaper still. Check No Mistake out, it’s time well spent–I thank both John Gentile and Welly Artcore for nods in this direction.