Review Summary: now you’re ready for reality
It’s alarmingly common in the modern day to hear about the effects of depression and anxiety and so on from what seems to be every single person currently alive. The ubiquity of technology and resulting extreme self-scrutiny that pervades society or the growing disparity between base mammal brain needs and the demands of an increasingly dystopian real life are just a couple of the frequently cited causes of these ailments. While many are keen to advocate the administration of copious amounts of thought drugs designed to subdue this natural cognition, few yet seem have to the stomach to acknowledge that these lines of thinking are directly symptomatic of a critically overpopulated world.
In retrospect, then, it’s remarkable that even before the cesspit of opinion that is the contemporary internet, influential conformoclasts No Trend were able to accurately articulate this existential angst as early as the year 1984 and for 36 minutes of noisy hate-punk describe in candid detail how there are simply too many fu
Expanding on what Flipper had achieved in 1982 with Album: Generic Flipper
, thoroughly desiccating the sense of humour and magnifying the misanthropy, No Trend produce a sublimely scornful sound; derision dripping from every knowingly hypocritical artistic choice, always guided by a subtle but distinct guilty undercurrent of incredible sexual frustration. Like Flipper’s debut, this album is carried by engaging bass playing, an asset which offers some cadence resembling sanity that grounds the disinterested orbit of guitar playing. The riffs, if you call them that, are characterised by erratic delirium and contrast well with the conviction in the jeering vocals and tumult of drums.
Societal alienation overwhelmingly dominates the lyrical themes, and while this is mainly manifested in incarnations of hatred like the deconstructive “Blow Dry” or the disaffected “Fashion Tips For the 80s”; there are more moments which surface more intimate aspects of No Trend’s psyche. Aural anxiety attack “Reality Breakdown” is one such instance, where the frantically futile clamour of lines like “Somebody tell me what to do” cascade over the inescapable bouncing thud of drums, gleeful throb of bass and riff haze. Similar is the raw despondency felt in “For the Fun of It All” which includes lines such as “What do you do, when you don’t want to be dead, but you don’t want to be alive?”, and anti-procreation anthem “Happiness Is...”, where themes from their earlier release Teen Love
are recreated in a vocal sample montage that iterates an unequivocal opposition to breeding.
Pretty much all of the tracks have qualities worth mentioning, but penultimate track, “Mindless Little Insects” consolidates the album’s themes suitably; absent of lyrics other than the snide repetition of the song name, a congenial groove and the buzz and skitter of miasmal guitar (including a casual mid-song detune), the track makes it difficult for the listener not to contemplate their insignificance.
In many ways, No Trend knew with the release of this album that is was already too late. How could the gormless billions of diverse, varied and conflicted people across the globe be convinced to agree upon one single cause? It will never happen. Thirty five years on from No Trend’s shrewd observation about the alarming quantity of humans in existence: the population of the earth has grown from 4.7 billion in 1984 to 7.7 billion in 2019. Will it be just 3 billion higher in 2054? Is anyone still under the delusion that anything about mankind’s current trajectory is sustainable? Will everyone finally admit that procreation is a pathetic brain chemical induced lie that man has maintained for far too long? Can anyone deny this: depression and anxiety exist because we collectively sense deep within our abstract introspective cores that something must change. Our population needs to be curtailed.