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Middle Class Rut No Name No Color Review

Album. Released 2010.  

BBC Review

An impressive coherency is on display across this debut long-play set.

Adam Kennedy 2010

Until this debut full-length from Middle Class Rut, the only hype that had really stuck to the Sacramento pair concerned numerical values. Specifically, were they the two-headed heroes the rock press had so longingly hoped for since pace-setting Canadian duo Death From Above 1979 acrimoniously split in 2006? Pleasingly, No Name No Color is driven by a combative mood more than fit to challenge lazy parallels.

Considering No Name... is compiled from several years of writing between kinetic hard touring, the coherency on display is impressive, as is the volume pumped out by a mere brace of noisy souls. Beefing up their sound along a steady series of preceding but, in isolation, somewhat unremarkable EPs, a handful of those tracks are given steroid boosts of muscle here, alongside new tunes. And suddenly it all begins to make more sense.

With reverberations – in guitar-slinger Zack Lopez's ethereal vocals at least – of fellow Californian crazies Jane's Addiction, a decent degree of anger bounces off otherworldly echo trails. It propels No Name... along at a fair lick, after insistent opener Busy Bein' Born has slowly revved the pace. Possibly tongue-in-cheek declaration of nationality USA buzzes past, flipping schizophrenically to mild self-loathing on New Low. Lifelong Dayshift is the first real example of venomous potential, though, snarling "Your life / It ain't worth wasting mine on": bitterness flecked with genuine ferocity.

MCR (or MC Rut as the band prefers to abbreviate) don't totally condemn minimal personnel limitations to the dustbin throughout, however. A saggy middle section sees to that, Are You on Your Way, Alive or Dead, I Guess You Could Say and Sad to Know all bordering mid-paced interchangeableness.

But intriguing self-deprecation returns at the conclusion, Cornbread stripping previous towers of sound down to handclaps and strummed repetitions beneath defeated observations, examining shame catalysed by country boy origins. That's near enough all you can conclude from lines like "Maybe I'm a one-horse town motherf***er", anyway. And it's those underlying neuroses that necessitate return listening, leaving you eager to unravel the working class self-doubt that fuels Middle Class Rut.

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