Thursday, June 23, 2016

No/No's Debut Record "Sound and Light" is that Alluring Stranger that Feels Like an Old Friend

On their debut record entitled "Sound and Light" (via Gloss Records) No/No's sound glistens with the shiny musical DNA of 80's bands like Joy Division, Psychedelic Furs, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Berlin, Missing Persons and more modern lush wave-ish outfits like Garbage, Kitten and even Sleigh Bells (Don't Remind Me). While the droning heavy synth bass keys may pull you in, it is the heavy guitar and girl / boy vocals often times pushed through a sexual come on / sci-fi filter that add the allure. The melodies, noise rock aesthetic and synth-ish plastic drums take you back to John Hughes movies but the No/No/s have a hint of John Waters too. There is a wrong side of the tracks feel here. 

The track Waiting For Something To Happen floods in on your senses slowly and is unabashedly retro. Sure some of those melodies might feel familiar but like comfort food and a good smoke you can't help but smile and purse your lips. The pulse-driven Television is soaked in art rock neon colors. It is heady rave music with a cool ass guitar. I like the more natural opening drums in Bad Habit, the jagged edges feel like a beefed up take on Duran Duran or Billy Idol. 

Two Lane Blacktop feels like a vast runaway song again firmly cast in an 80's light. A Thousand Times is probably the most guitar heavy centric song on this debut album. It has that wide Billy Zoom stance feel that makes it head bangish fun. Dark Side has a luscious bass bottom and a dirty electronic sound. The guitar glitter on the pre-chorus is really sweet. Whatever might be the glassy eyed slow dance of this record meant for broken hearts and bruised fists. I really love how the vocals sound a bit more natural. Beautiful emotionally wrought textures in Cat Ries' tortured vox. This song might be the "populist" hit on the record with the most mass appeal. It is the kind of song you listen to late at night and lament that one that got away, or that dream you didn't chase, the wave you didn't have the balls to drop into, the guy that you did not save from those punks and that jump you didn't take off that cliff all the while crying your eyes out and getting stoned. 

There is a two fold attraction to "Sound and Light". On one hand, those of us who cut our teeth on the 80's sounds that (I would guess) inspired No/No's sound might embrace these songs like strangers that somehow feel like old friends and to those a lot younger who may not be that familiar with some of the source material (as they say) "Sound and Light" might feel utterly shiny and new. Either way, there is a lot to love, to feel.

I am searching for that old tight leather jacket and black peg leg pants and say Yes/ Yes to No/ No.

Robb Donker

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