Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Album Review :: NOTS - We Are NOTS



November 20 2015 (Heavenly Recordings)


Words: Richard O’Hagan

Once upon a very long time ago, I wrote a children’s story about a small blonde girl whose love of all things punk and metal was so completely at odds with her outward, little princess, appearance that it startled people and…well, made for an interesting story, anyway. Years later, Memphisites Nots have made that idea flesh, and then some. ‘We Are NOTS’ is as if someone has taken some early Enter Shikari, blended it with The Slits, made the vocals even more shouty, and then cranked the keyboards up to ‘loud and disturbing’.

As with most punk bands, the formula doesn’t vary much between songs. Charlotte Watson’s drums pound, Madison Farmer’s bass booms over the top of them, singer Natalie Hoffman throws in some caterwauling guitar and then Alexandra Eastburn starts wringing sixteen different flavours of hell out of a synthesizer. At times the short, punchy numbers (the eleven tracks add up to fewer than 28 minutes) seem to segue into one another.
If you listen carefully, though, there are some very subtle differences to be found. Opener ‘Insect Eyes’ is somewhat industrial, whilst the skirling keyboards on ‘Decadence’ provide a perfect set up for thunderous single ‘Reactor’. The "We are falling apart" and "There is no hope" refrains of ‘Black Mold’ (note the tongue out, heels in lack of concession to British spelling!) hint at a darker, more sophisticated lyrical content to come. It doesn’t always all come together for NOTS - ‘Televangelist’ is little more than a sprawling mess - but it is a lot of fun when it does. It is almost enough to make you want to start writing children’s stories again.

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