No Matter - Bad Chemistry (Cover Artwork)

No Matter

Bad Chemistry (2022)

brassneck records

The pop punk experts of Northern Ireland's No Matter are back again with another flawless release in Bad Chemistry.

The LP fires up with "Brickwall," cramming riffs into a Weasel/Bottlerocket half-time punk standard. "It's Boring" promptly follows, complete with (good) Blink leads and harmonious "whoas." Lead vocals are then handed from guitarist Dan, to bassist Caitlin "Cat" Palmer with the gigantic choruses of anthem "In Spite of You," and as per No Matter tradition, her hooks steal the show at this point. "Shitegeist" rips open next with quick double-time from drummer Jamie, chudded guitars, and A three part harmonies from Cat, Dan, and second guitarist Jarlath.

"Hope It's Hell" is a home-run of catchy, staccato vocals, and sixteenth notes, while "Canola" blends the textured rhythm guitars and angst of the oldest Alkaline Trio favorites. "Gravity" shifts the mood dramatically in the pop direction with bopping drums and, of course again thanks to Cat, the biggest chorus out of the fourteen songs. "Crowd Pleaser" is just that, a sixty-two second energetic doubletime banger a-la Less Than Jake or Sum 41.

"Fine Print" cranks right back into pro (and clean as hell) single kick-work from Jamie, and another effortless tongue-lashing from Cat. "Otherside/Interlude" once again showcases No Matter's greatest strength: narrowing everything wonderful about Lookout-era pop punk into very smart, thoughtful, and evolved songwriting. "The Machine Stops" dredges the tempo to the slowest thus far for a clever intro... until opening up to another fast-paced Kerplunk-ish delight.

"Tinfoil" digs Dan into worldly conspiracies with more top-notch single-string guitar leads. "Unsaid" tells a story of reflection, scored to more break-neck skate-punk drumming. "Like A Masochist" is an unapologetic "final song of the LP," from the hungover storytelling, to the hopelessness of the vocal melody and Dan's delivery. Closing the doors of Bad Chemistry with somber bass leads, galloping drums, and a fadeout leaving the listener ready to start over from the top, as well as eagerly await another addition to the No Matter discography.

Perhaps the energy in the Ben Weasels of the world waned over decades of material, perhaps the Green Days or Blinks lost the sound to the dollar signs, perhaps had the Teen Idols stuck around a bit longer they would have honed the identity of the genre. Regardless of music history ramblings, No Matter has indeed cracked the code to a timeless and spotless full length punk record. While intentional or not, the title itself is a self-deprecating jab at the obvious great chemistry the four-piece share to accomplish such writing, which would be an impossible task if not for their love and devotion to the craft of music they have mastered. Spectacular album.