Review Summary: somebody's tamed No Age, so they think.
No Age described Everything in Between
as maturation; “not getting boring, just richer.” This is either a lie or a bad grasp on economics, because nobody is going to reach for their wallet the first time they listen to “Glitter.” They did for "Eraser" of Nouns
in which the band ripped apart the song's build up and let loose, but their latest single is content to glide in noise rather than blow up in it. In 2008 I was frightened of these rebels, so I thank Everything in Between
for letting me be me, the guy too scared to sing along. It’s a rebel, but a crumpled one.
Everything in Between
might just be my favourite No Age record for all the wrong reasons, then. It beggars belief that an album so underwhelming can be so satisfying, and moreso when it comes from two dudes with passion as high as the volume can go. Of course, it's only underwhelming to start with, and it’s still that loud, but easier and more digestible. They were right, this isn’t
boring, it just goes down better. “Fever Dreaming” is still raucous and pissed off, a dream for demented distortion freaks. “Skinned” is a huge punk song that grows chorus to chorus, and knows it- it's possibly their most structured song. And of course, there’s “Glitter,” the album’s first single: at first it sounds dull (duller in the context of the band who made it), but for all its swishing and swirling it eventually reveals itself a winner, so long as you stop waiting for big finishes. After all, it’s as huge as No Age have ever been- a guitar is, as always, being scraped to pieces behind the scenes. And really, I could rave on about the first six songs on this album all day. At first they won’t quench the thirst of any die-hard because they aren’t as pulsating as “Miner” or “Sleeper Hold.” They’re as good, though, if only because No Age is okay waiting for us to appreciate them. For No Age, patience is a first. And you will
get there with “Life Prowler” even if it isn’t dropping hammers, because it’s as catchy and weirdly transcendent as the next man’s fuzz.
I don’t want to be the one to pigeon-hole Everything in Between
by calling it ‘maturation’ because I don’t think that would do this record half the justice it deserves: No Age are still writing songs with goalless grins on their faces, and like the best pop, they don’t go for sections or arrangements. The duo attest to that by creating an album with six singles and seven arguably useless tracks, and to fire that fact home they lead Everything In The Between
with the six singles. As a result, some among us won’t bother with the bookends, but they'll be missing this band at their niftiest; the fun of finishing off rocking out with fuzzy instrumentals like “Katerpillar,” “Dusted” and “Positive Amputation.” And the moments slotted sneakily in between, such as the understated (and slower) “Valley Hump Crash” and, of course, the album’s loudest and proudest, “Shed and Transcend.”
The best tracks may be the most unexpected. “Common Heat” is stripped bare, and not just musically. This anthem of desperation is as naked as No Age have ever been, and the fact that we've never seen this side of them will stop you twice before you write off Everything in Between
as "boring." At the end of the day, first impressions aren’t ever as deceiving as this. The songs on Everything in Between
may consult the rule book from time to time, but the album sure as hell doesn’t.
Everything in Between is streaming at http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/musicblog/2010/sep/20/no-age-everything-in-between