When a band disappears for a good few years then return with an full length album, there’s always a little bit of anxiety that they’ll never come back and they’ll drop off the map for good. When an album comes out you can’t help but worry if this will be the last one. After a long hiatus, a good five year wait, No Age came back with an album in 2018, and there was always that worry that it could be another five years, or even six years, or even longer until they return again. But now, with the new Goons Be Gone, it seems like they are fully back in action.
I blame Sub Pop. Why would anybody in their right mind drop No Age, which is what the label did after the under performance of the band’s third album, An Object, which is fucking great and everybody has to listen to it. After that record, then came the long five year break. Thank god for the Chicago label Drag City, who picked up Sub Pop’s dregs. Drag City put out the best album of 2019 with Purple Mountains, and you know what? The mother fuckers might have pulled it off again.
No Age are the masters of LA noise rock. They are the frontiers of the genre and lead the zeitgeist in to obscurity just as quickly as the scene rose to prominence. The band should be in a hall of fame all of their own. Thinking about it, maybe Sub Pop were right to drop them. It was music of the moment, and the new album is no different. This record is so 2009, and that’s why I love it.
Goons Be Gone is comfortable, but comfortable doesn’t mean bad, especially when No Age’s comfortable means lively, psychedelic indie rock that constantly meshes ambient sounds with shredding guitars, pounding drums, and the lazy vocal delivery. “Sandalwood,” “Feeler,” “War Dance,” the album houses some of the band’s best songs and ones that’ll be on the gig setlists for years to come.
Goons Be Gone is just what you’d expect from a No Age record this deep in to their career. It might be their best since 2010’s Everything In Between. Though I do have a massive soft spot for An Object. The band aren’t experimenting like they used to. This is the less is more approach and they stick to what they’re good at. It’s a great entry in to their discography and a high point in the second phase of their career.