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No Age | Goons Be Gone

The veteran noise-rock duo are getting somewhere with their fifth full-length.

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Everyone knows a straight line is the shortest distance between two points. And No Age are definitely playing it straight on their fifth full-length Goons Be Gone. Well, straight for them, anyway. Guitarist Randy Randall and drummer/vocalist Dean Spunt rein it in on this 11-song set, toning down the noisy experimentation for simpler, punchier and punkier songs vaguely reminiscent at times of Iggy Pop and The Stooges, Lou Reed and The Velvet Underground and other proto-punk outfits. Coupled with enough sonic eccentricities and eclecticism to keep this feeling like a throwback or step back, it suggests No Age are heading somewhere. Hope they drop us a line if and when they get wherever they’re going.

THE PRESS RELEASE:No Age’s Goons Be Gone kicks into gear, takes you out west and gets some dirt on it, with what’s possible their most honed in and direct record yet. A guitar/drums duo with a penchant for self-recorded samples, No Age are mostly unconcerned with things like space or pause, and Goons Be Gone is gorgeously thick — a hazy, delirious expanse that’s both comforting and disorienting. Opener Sandalwood begins and ends in murk, and in between the duo sputter and twitch and pound, alternately revealing and concealing a sweet, taut melody — such is No Age’s agenda, burying an addictive little singalong in layers of effects and fuzz. Some fans might pine — at least at first — for the (vaguely) more experimental, less riff-driven muck of An Object, but Goons Be Gone is a more thoughtful, coherent (and still plenty dirty) version of what No Age began building with all those EPs. Listening to Goons Be Gone, it’s hard to comprehend how just two people can manage to make so much noise while still sounding so subdued and mysterious — it’s easier to imagine the pair spewing these songs underwater, bursting forth from some colossal California quarry rather than a tiny, stuffy art space a few blocks from L.A.’s skid row. Goons Be Gone is so cacophonous, so fertile, and so ripe with sound that parsing out the samples and effects and various layers of guitar is nearly impossible; besides, it’s way more satisfying to just close your eyes and just enjoy it. Ultimately, it’s part of No Age’s allure that Goons Be Gone is so difficult to figure out, that it manages to be so big while coming from a place so small: All you’ll know for sure is that you want to listen longer. Maybe forever.”