Just when it seemed the band had used up all its resources, they come up with a ninth studio album like One
Jesus Christ, this isn’t exactly what I’d call 'easy listening'. Apart from the album closer, all the songs here are genuinely epic, often stretched out beyond the 6-7 minute mark (“Bitch’s Brew” reaching 15 minutes), and – contrary to their earlier releases – this album is mostly a mid-tempo affair.
The schizophrenic genre-hopping and tempo changes are omitted in favor of a less forced and weird approach, but one that’s no less adventurous - Nomeansno don’t make music for the masses. Since their early days, their albums have been crammed with bleak songs, of which the titles often said enough: “Forget Your Life”, “The End of All Things”, “The Valley of the Blind” etc. Of course there’s also the Orwellian Zero plus Two equals One
, and the numerous metaphors and comparisons they use for referring to humanity.
, we’re again faced with a bunch of unsettling stories - of people enjoying the graveyard shift, about towns where 'murder happens everyday', about phone stalkers going through hell. The most surprising track of ‘em all is probably a cover of Miles Davis’ “Bitch's Brew”, which also gets fittingly opaque lyrics full of references to physical violence and mental instability.
Never has a Nomeansno album sounded better than this time around, and never before has the band’s interplay reached such heights - I only needed one listen to be blown away by the sheer force of this trio. They no longer need sudden accelerations and rhythmic shifts to prove their musicianship, as they’ve reached a point where their interplay seems to be hypnotic.
by Reviewer: Guy Peters
(blogging at Guy's Music Review Site