Autistic Youth - Nonage LP (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Autistic Youth

Nonage LP (2013)

Dirtnap Records

Autistic Youth are from the current hotbed of quality punk rock – Portland, OR. It certainly seems as if that area is a breeding ground for some of the best music coming out of the USA at the moment, and the third album from this quartet is definitely one that cannot be ignored.

Where Landmine Beach and Idle Hands were strong albums featuring punk rock that had a classic 1980's Adolescents / Angry Samoans sound hitched to a punchy contemporary delivery, Nonage finds the band tweaking that sound a bit which to me comes across like the way M.I.A. progressed from Notes From The Underground to After The Fact back in the 1980's: that is, a sound that has an element of maturity to it without losing any of the punch that the band has previously displayed. Additionally and whether deliberate or not given the title of the new album, Autistic Youth now have a bit of a Milo Goes To College era Descendents feel to it at times and to top it all off, I also managed to discern moments that brought to mind Dag Nasty and The Wipers too. It might sound similar to when a child has gone to the ice cream shop and had half a dozen scoops of different flavors and covered it all in chocolate sauce and a handful of hundreds and thousands – it might seem too varied but in reality it tastes just fine. In this case the outcome is better than just fine, it's definitely the peak of what the band has achieved so far.

I like it when bands can borrow from the past and make their music still sound in the now, and this is a band that clearly has the ability to sound nostalgic and current at the same time. The album has eleven tracks of warm and fuzzy sounding melodic punk rock that has a more compressed feel than previously utilised by the band and it suits the catchy, sing-along delivery to a tee.

There's no filler here with each song keeping the momentum going at a fair clip and the consistency levels never dip anywhere near an unacceptable point. With repeated plays I realise that this would have found a place in my top ten albums for last year if only I'd pulled my finger out a bit and listened to the album sooner.