Tuesday, November 10, 2009

In the Batting Circle: NoMeansNo

One side effect of easy (and illegal) downloading is that it is too easy get immersed in the latest music and put blinders on to the predecessors. People used to take suggestions from bands they loved as clues to what made them the artist they are. Brendan Kelly of one of my favorite bands, The Lawrence Arms, has made his affection for NoMeansNo apparent on a couple of occasions. He and Neil (TLA and The Falcon drummer) raved about the band in an interview and suggested the album Wrong as a starting point.
As is the practice of today, I generally ignored the suggestion. But fortunately for me, I found the album recently and I've been rewarded with one of the most unusual and fulfilling albums I've ever heard. NoMeansNo consists of brothers Rob and John Wright, and Tom Holliston (Holliston replaced Alex Kerr in 1993). The one word that comes to mind when I listen to the band is "primal." It's a type of music that is noticeably complex, but somehow seems simple and, as I said, primal.
To say that NoMeansNo influenced the fellas from The Lawrence Arms is evident, but not superficial. The bass lines punch similarly to many TLA songs. The "Hoos" you hear on "The Routes We Wander" on The Falcon album and EP are taken from NoMeanNo's "Tired of Waiting."
Since I have very little experience with some older bands, I can't compare NoMeansNo with other bands. They share some qualities with Dead Kennedys. The experimental aspects seem like predecessors to Refused's The Shape of Punk to Come. Simply put, they're a fascinating band and Wrong is their masterpiece. Please to enjoy:

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Check out the 'official' place on the web, www.nomeanswhatever.com