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Artist: n0 things

Album: n0 things

Label: self-released

Review date: Apr. 4, 2006

n0 things (their spelling, not mine) is the brand where ex-Liars rhythm sectioneers Ron Albertson and Pat Noecker now roost, rounded out with ex-HiM/The Letter E member Christian Dautresme on guitar and vocals. Inevitably promo’d against the release of Liars’ new album Drum’s Not Dead, this is not the band’s first release (a 7” was issued on Blast First, with the follow-up album sacked with UK label rights issues), but its first in some time, and likely (but hopefully not) the most accurate recorded representation of where they’re at now.

So out with it: gallows guitar march, hiccupping tongue-twist vocals styled by Peter Murphy by way of Chris D. (Flesh Eaters), many words, much rhythmic lope and insistence, and the essence of days gone by spilled all over it: three songs, in three distinct modes. Leadoff track “Trees” is the most memorable here, as it actually has a hook, and as piratey peg-legged as it might sound, it does what it should, grounding the storm of percussion and scraping noise that surrounds it. Dautresme spits out whole pages of nonsensical invective, all wound up but trapped in the logorrhea that such big words often bring to those who don’t speak them in their daily routines. “Dramatically discomforting” sums it up. The other two tracks, which as the first, are unfairly sidelined by rehearsal space-quality production, sound as though they were ideas fished out of the delete bin of NYC rock’s past, from Live Skull and Missing Foundation to Skeleton Key and Jonathan Fire*Eater; points on the curve representing that devalued wave of striking noise as it traveled up the city’s spine from thrashingly desperate and bleak experimentalism to a higher-budget re-enactment of same. In any event, it sounds dated and unfortunate in 2006; tribal drone lashing out, but a minor threat to those whose ideas are more grounded and even marginally more viable.

This EP – okay, let’s just call it a demo – sells the band as one of many, a very unfortunate trend within uninspired or just plain talent-lacking peers of theirs to play music that reaches into very specific influences, confoundingly arranged as to cancel each other out. No use in naming names, because you’ll never hear these groups anyway unless you’re here and friends of theirs, or just unlucky enough to show up to a gig punctually and be presented with their zero-sum slop in the opening slot. The members of n0 things are better than that, particularly in the live setting, where the triteness of these songs was steamrolled by their energy and on-stage athleticism. They’re extremely talented individuals who, if these songs are any indication, need to maybe get out of town on a more regular basis, see some trees and open fields, and uproot the congested modes of thought that created these songs. As it stands, these sounds feel dishonest.

By Doug Mosurock

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