No Age - An Object (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

No Age

An Object (2013)

Sub Pop

No Age have made a point of expanding their sound with each release, exploring sonic textures and recording techniques. They've double-mic'ed tracks, meaning sending the mix through a PA system and recording it again, they've recorded in studios where Crass have recorded, and Jesus and Mary Chain's Psychocandy was recorded because "why not?", and basically just done everything they can to achieve new and different sounds. On An Object, their fourth full-length, they somehow take the experimentation even further.

Opener "No Ground" twinkles a bit then comes atcha with chugging bass and guitars sustaining a single chord as long as they can. Drummer/vocalist Dean Spunt sings, "Who do you think you are? / Your life is set in stone / No room for adjustment / No room for growth" speaking directly to their mission. "I Won't Be Your Generator" rolls along like one of Sonic Youth's prettier songs, showcasing Spunt's ever-improving pitch.

These guys may be adventurous in their techniques, but they still go fuckin' punk all over this record. "C'mon, Stimmung" is like the Ramones with a shoegaze tone, and has some of Spunt's catchier hooks on the record. The guitar plows through the song, with short interludes of sampled guitar feedback (I think). "An Impression" has percussion constructed from tapping contact mics rather than drum set proper, and also has a great string section interlude, a new element for the band that works super well on this chill number. "Lock Box" also goes for the untraditional percussion route, galloping and tip-tapping all the way. "Circling With Dizzy" has some awesome rumbling noises midway through, perhaps made by the guitar. "Commerce, Comment, Commerce" sees guitarist Randy Randall creating more of the great My Bloody Valentine-reminiscent soundscapes he loves, sounding like a thunderstorm in the distance.

An Object is No Age making a record. Not taking road-worn songs and recording them, but actually making a record, building songs from the ground floor and playing and recording each one in a unique way. The band obviously put a lot of heart into this record. They even have a "Loser Edition" of the record, hand-assembled by the band. Check out the process in this instagram video. I think An Object battles Everything In Between for best No Age album, and while I think Object contains even more interesting musical elements, Everything had more hooks. I could use a little more focus on vocal melodies here amidst the murk and textures created, but overall I love where No Age is going with their sound.