Nouns, the new record by L.A. band No Age, is the best punk album of the 21st century. The duo's first real full-length release (following last year's singles collection, Weirdo Rippers) taps the place where primal expression collides with harmony and drop-dead rhythm, where anger converges with melody to express what seems so inexpressible. Nouns is hard, it's textured, it's furious bursts of song. The album clocks twelve tracks in 30:36, the longest being the epic 3:27 wash of guitar, "Keechie," the shortest being the opening statement of purpose, "Miner." At 1:51, it suggests both My Bloody Valentine's "Sueisfine" and brutalist British hardcore punk band Discharge. The hook — such as it is — arrives at 1:13, and isn't a hook so much as a five-second cutaway to some sort of collapse, which vanishes as quickly as it arrives but transforms the song.
No Age's other material draws from a well of influences. Nouns is the Minutemen's The Punch Line, Naked Raygun's Throb Throb tossed with Hüsker Dü's Zen Arcade, My Bloody Valentine's Loveless crossed with Black Flag's Damaged, generated by guitarist Randy Randall and singing drummer Spunt. It's simplicity, coupled with distortion boxes, panic, and energy — and finally, it's a great punk-rock record at a time when it wasn't clear whether great punk was still possible.
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