Time is a slippery thing to quantify. We live our lives through a vortex of mundane tasks, scheduled appointments, innocuous meals, traumatic events, relationships, and sure, birthdays. The markers are hard to identify as you live through them, and really it’s only upon reflection that the important moments come into focus. The guys in the noise-punk duo No Age, drummer/singer Dean Allen Spunt and guitarist Randy Randall, have been considering time quite a bit lately. It’s been five years since the last time they put out a new album. Five years in which they became fathers, lost loved ones, found a new record label, and generally re-connected with the people and things that mattered in their lives outside of being touring musicians. All of it made it into their phenomenal new album Snares Like A Haircut.
“We’ve been reflecting about how we’ve been doing this 10 years, 12 years, and what does it mean? Who are we as people and where’s our place? You’re never permanent,” Randall said. “Snares Like A Haircut is an observation from a person who doesn’t know where they’re at in time. It’s a question of, ‘Who am I today? Where am I? What time is it? What year is it?'”
No Age’s latest album might be their finest yet. I don’t say that lightly. The LA duo has been pushing the envelope from the very beginning, going all the way back to their 2007, full-length debut Weirdo Rippers. There’s a confidence in Snares Like A Haircut that you can’t help but notice. These songs were designed to be played live and made to be blasted at full volume on the highway with the windows down. The music is affected by these weird, abrasive textures, but held together through tight, almost pop melodies. Bright sonic constructions clash against dark, introspective themes in this perfect, punk rock vortex. A dozen years into their career, and it sounds like Randall and Spunt have only just begun to hit their stride.
I recently had the chance to talk to Randall about how No Age has evolved since the last time we heard them, how to create something beautiful out of something grotesque, and how the sound of a single drum can tell you everything you need to know.