Nobunny - Maximumrocknroll [7-inch] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Maximumrocknroll [7-inch] (2012)


Nobunny's Maximumrocknroll EP is interesting in its lo-fi approach, especially following 2010's First Blood. Where First Blood was Nobunny' slickest record to date, the new EP is the rawest thing he's cut to date, but the mega-lo-fi approach actually cuts into the songs themselves.

As before, Nobunny's songs are rooted in classic '50s bopper mixed with classic punk stomping. The five songs on this seven-inch whiz by in about five minutes, all flying at a high energy. And, as always, Nobunny understands that song craft comes first, so the hook rules, and the songs bounce along with a cadence that demands head bobbing and thumb snapping.

Also as before, Nobunny uses the fun simplicity of the songs as a gateway to darker territory. "Assholes" rants against just that. "I see swastikas" seems to be a proclamation of surprise and fear and the sight of white power goons… or maybe its a song about being really angry?

It's tough to tell because all five songs sound like they were recorded on a Walkman. While the lo-fi production of Nobunny's debut LP, Love Vision, gave the songs a warm, rough charm that harkened back to the earliest days of rock and roll, here, the songs are even rougher sounding. In fact, the range of music is so loud, and the recording is so muddled, that it's difficult to tell what's actually happening in the song. Lo-fi for aesthetics is one thing, but when the facade cements white noise over the songs themselves, perhaps the effect is taken too far.

Of course, it could be that this release is more an art project than a music release. It is titled Maximumrocknroll and is in a photocopied white sleeve, with almost no liner notes, somewhat mimicking MRR's earliest releases. But, paradoxically, the back features "Not for review in MRR" in tiny print and proudly states that it was pressed by Goner Records. Is this release a dis or an homage? Like the music, it's tough to tell what's going on. Therefore, as an art piece to be interpreted as the listener prefers, the work succeeds. But as actual music, just a little more clarity would have taken it from a fun one-off to an enduring collection.