Male Bonding
Nothing Hurts


3.5
great

Review

by AggravatedYeti USER (46 Reviews)
May 19th, 2010 | 18 replies | 4,948 views


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: London trio steeped equally in lo-fi, grunge and C86 pop come out the gates swinging...or well, at least making a shit ton of noise.

3 of 3 thought this review was well written

Apparently London has a bustling lo-fi community. Not like the buzzy *** gazers of LA or NYC’s fuzz punkers -- these dudes all ***ing live, play and work together. Names like Graffiti Island and PENS may sound foreign to some, but in their home of Dalston they’ve busily been making names for themselves and catching some ears in the process. Enter guitar-bass-drum trio Male Bonding, up to their ears in DIY ethic, fast, immediate hooks and mountains of reverb; a concrete representation of that specific buzz sound rising from the English streets. Furthermore the exact reason why you should care about these bands in the first place. The music is reminiscent of their American counter-parts (No Age, Vivian Girls, A Place To Bury Strangers), but Male Bonding tend to smooth their songs out with Post-Punk pomp or dreamy distortion as opposed to just adding more skuzz. And while they’re distinctly similar to the likes of Sonic Youth and Joy Division, its their penchant for mixing in K Records shimmering buzz and C86 style pop that makes all the tracks on Nothing Hurts such a joy to come back to.

While there could be some who view the album’s 25 minute runtime as a drawback, coupled with some jaded outcries of this would make a better EP! Sure, you could say that, or you could take Nothing Hurts as it presents itself: a collection of 13 tightly-knit, poppy-punk songs that struggle to hit the 3 minute mark before they implode upon themselves. Thankfully nothing really ever reaches that 180 second threshold, and the tracks on Nothing Hurts never overstay their welcome. Grungy cuts like “All Things This Way” and “Your Contact,” seem to revel in their hook-heavy yet minute runtimes. The classic punk aesthetic of why do in 5 minutes what you can do in 1, is in full swing with Male Bonding, and Nothing Hurts is that much better for it.

Unlike a lot of their fuzzy peers, they are actually able to stuff more in the song’s short life-spans than you figure would be plausible. Rather than acting indier than thou while in the recording process, they seem to have be granted their high-horse by virtue of the fact that their music fit’s the persona; as though we were lumping the DIY onto them. Which is somewhat of a hard card to play, but Male Bonding are ready for the hordes of jaded indie-fied masses(hah!) by seemingly stripping themselves of all their pretension. Where as the likes of Vivan Girls, No Age and Times New Viking, who would garner comparisons to these guys, do so because they all seem to really really love that lo-fi buzz. Male Bonding use the aesthetic as opposed to abusing it. Comparatively, they would have more in common with no-fi stalwarts like Sonic Youth and Eric’s Trip, though certainly more pop oriented than both of those bands. Their obvious love of classic Post-Punk (“Nothing Used To Hurt” & “Your Contact” being standouts) and Twee (“Franklin”) give them a bit of a leg up though. Their melodies pop and their choruses drag you back in, the lo-fi aspect plays off as a positive, as opposed to skuzzing up the whole album.

It also helps that bassist Kevin Hendrick (who used to speed up his records as kid) and guitarist John Arthur Webb can harmonize. Granted their 2-minute blasts down Lo-Fi Avenue may not leave too much in the way of time, but tell that to album stand outs “Crooked Scene,” “Nothing Remains” and “Nothing Used to Hurt.” The later in which the band finds time to successfully balance the fuzz with their joint melodies and a minute long distorted intro -- all under 3 minutes. It is just that ability to cram so much into so little that grants Male Bonding such success with Nothing Hurts. It may just be 20 or so minutes long, and the songs may kind of run together if you let them but their throw in the kitchen sink while pissing into the wind tendency with recording gives their debut LP a sense of purpose. If only to allow for a debauched drunken explosion, or a calling card for friends (see the excellent Viv Girls choral cameo on closer “Worse To Come,”) Nothing Hurts still reads as a reinvigorated chapter in the great Cannon of Lo-Fi. Regardless of how true that assertion may be, at least Nothing Hurts feels that way, which is half the battle anyways. Using a self-conscious recording process this trio of Londoners present an earnest outburst of youth and a free-wheeling spirit that is nothing less than refreshing. Now lets see if they can do it again.



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user ratings (43)
Chart.
3.4
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Ponton
Emeritus
May 19th 2010



5784 Comments


Yes, love it dude. For those interested, here's a stream:

http://3voor12.vpro.nl/speler/luisterpaal/43440689

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
May 19th 2010



7313 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Listening now, sounds pretty good so far. Good review.

AggravatedYeti
May 19th 2010



7684 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

thanks. ya album was surprisingly solid.

robin
Emeritus
May 19th 2010



4241 Comments


id listen to this but im still recovering from the horrible shock to the system that was vivian girls. ewwww.

AggravatedYeti
May 19th 2010



7684 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

this sounds more twee.
that's right.
also much better.

timbo8
May 19th 2010



618 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

damn u beat me to reviewing this, but nice review. Love this album!

EVedder27
May 19th 2010



6088 Comments


Nice Yeti, I'll prob get this

AggravatedYeti
May 19th 2010



7684 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

danke
album is growing with each spin.

RosaParks
August 5th 2010



14592 Comments


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2xQXFWxJ8fQ
Probs the best music video ever made.

Yotimi
November 22nd 2010



6437 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Likin this a lot. Getting a Japandroids vibe

AggravatedYeti
November 22nd 2010



7684 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

this album is unabashed fuzzy joy.

Romulus
November 22nd 2010



8411 Comments


i really dug this at first but it wore off like reallllly fast

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
November 22nd 2010



14983 Comments


this band is like first on my last.fm recommended list but dont even care cuz i need to start listening and stop d/ling

Bitchfork
November 22nd 2010



7584 Comments


If you like this check out Naked On the Vague's latest record it's very noisy but in a very unabashed indie way as well.

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
December 20th 2010



14983 Comments


hmm. this is alright. could see it being my fix for some quick noisy jams.

JackSparrow
April 22nd 2013



1686 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

It's awesome to find what browsing Sputnik will find you, I like this album a lot

Damus
September 8th 2013



392 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this album is so much fun, and infinitely replayable. Favorite tracks are easily Your Contact, and Franklin.

cndflg
December 8th 2013



6 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

They're not going for classic, but the album is outrageous!!!



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