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NoMeansNo | NoMeansNo | review | rock | Lollipop


NoMeansNo (Alternative Tentacles)
by Lex Marburger

Well, shit, I'm not sure how to handle this one... What does a band do when they innovate a style when they're young and angry, and then get older? I mean, as far as pissed off, punk-brother-bass-and-drums teams go, NOMEANSNO pretty much have a monopoly. Their assault of repetitious, hammering bombast has pretty much been unchanged since their first album. And no one has really taken the mantle from them in all their (oh God) fifteen years. So they have a new album, One. What does it sound like? Pretty much like their past ten albums. Which isn't really a bad thing... They're still playing in hammering low-end rhythmic blasts, pretty technically adept, and creative (within their style, of course). They're still pissed off about the same things: Disrespect to women, society, stupid people, garbage, etc. They're still on top of their game. So what' s my problem? Well, do we need this album? I mean, you've pretty much got yer essential NOMEANSNO with Sex Mad/You Kill Me, Small Parts and Wrong. Yeah, there are other good songs, and dedicated followers can debate the quality of their late '90s albums all they want, then discuss the subtle points - whether or not the Wright brothers (Jon and Rob) have actually gotten optimistic in their "old age." But the fact remains, we know what the album will sound like, and we know what they're trying to say before we even open the packaging.

OK, now the tough part. On One, they actually do branch out... They do something utterly unexpected. They reprise Miles Davis' "Bitch's Brew." Bet you didn't see that one comin', huh? Now, maybe I'm being too picky, or maybe I'm expecting too much, but I would've figured they'd do something a little less.. Well, a little less NOMEANSNO. Instead, they just hammer their way through it, and what's more, they add lyrics about a bar fight, and cheap sex, and they really don't fit. It upsets me that the guys who wrote tracks like "Real Love" and "Some Bodies" couldn't come up with anything better. Then there's the real kicker, the one thing that absolutely ruins any chance of my enjoying this CD. As much as NOMEANSNO helped shape my life when I was growing up, I cannot forgive their atrocious cover of the Ramones' "Beat on the Brat." No way, no how... If you ever want to hear how a band can suck all the life out of a song and drag it into the dirt, check out this track. Pointless.
(PO Box 419092 San Francisco, CA 94141)

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