No Age’s number 2 record for Drag City, 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 (Randy RandallRandy Randall and drummer / vocalist Dean SpuntDean Spunt) with a penchant for self-recorded samples, No AgeNo 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 Randall and SpuntSpunt sputter and twitch and pound, alternately revealing and concealing a sweet, taut melody - such is No AgeNo Age’s agenda, burying an addictive little singalong in layers of effects and fuzz.
Feeler is more immediately user-friendly, opening with sunny guitar chirps and a knee-slapping drumbeat, before Spunt starts barking intelligible lyrics (“Attention feels overrated / Dismiss this crowded place / Come away with me / Disguise the impact from your face”) and the music goes steady and frantic. Working Stiff Takes A Break is a summer song in the sweatiest, most realistic sense - it’s not the Beach Boys' gooey, über-idealized, convertibles-and-beach-volleyball version, it’s the waiting-for-the-bus, sweaty and desperate but still-sorta-excited-about-all-that-sunshine take. Smoothie is similarly exuberant, full of power chords and distortion; it’s arguably the poppiest thing No Age have recorded to date (all those cries of Tambourine are practically bubblegum), and accordingly, completely addictive. Head Sport Full Face, meanwhile, is the sound - both literally and metaphysically - of everything happening all at once, an ecstatic, feedback-addled lullaby.
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.