A glorious, if rather brief, coming of age.
Adam Kennedy 2009-10-09
It may disappear inside 14 brief minutes, but Losing Feeling, the follow-up EP to No Age’s much acclaimed 2008 album Nouns, is the finest distillation of the Los Angeles duo’s lo-fi shoegaze-punk yet.
Maintaining a knack for indelible impressions in bite-sized doses, concurrently keeping alive DIY love for limited edition vinyl releases, the pair – drummer Dean Spunt and awesomely named guitarist Randy Randall – immediately turn in a career high in the time it takes to tune a guitar.
The title track is a life-affirming triumph, steeling itself beyond three minutes, occasionally flickering to chiming life, before cascading into an exhilarating dash to the finish.
Concluding with almost Kurt Cobain-worthy couplet “Living out my fear / Waste another year”, it’s an attention-arresting thrill even No Age’s harshest critics cannot deny. The angelic “Ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooooh” harmonies are a veritable pleasure to boot.
Genie, meanwhile, harks back to Nouns territory as a disorientating intro loop gives way to a typically fuzzy though restrained strum, overlaid with lashings of endearingly forlorn melancholia seemingly concerning a lost love. No Age by numbers, sure, but no worse for it.
Aim at the Airport is an unexpected polar opposite, however, a static-haloed ambient interlude that outstrips all Spunt and Randall’s past output for outright serene beauty, harbouring delicately unfolding reversed notes and a buzzing melody line.
Washing across ears with soundscape intent, a final sample of lapping waves and shingle underfoot cements already-forming woozy images of lying prone on a deserted shoreline, sinking blissfully slowly into the sediment.
All of which leaves You’re a Target to mirror the EP’s warped vinyl cover art with cute accuracy, as if actively preferring to wade through the tinny hiss of an old turntable while Hüsker Dü’s spirit is fed through a noise-pop gauze. Like Genie, formulas remain resolutely unbroken, the hard work, in all honesty, already successfully executed.
If Nouns represented the adolescent pinnacle of the scene surrounding No Age’s native stomping ground, iconic LA venue The Smell, then Losing Feeling is a glorious coming of age from the loose movement’s worthy torchbearers.