Finally! Despite a constant, five-year presence in Raleigh, NC’s fertile DIY hardcore community, No Love’s recorded output seemed meager: two demo cassettes and a 7” on the Sorry State Records Singles Series. This, especially considering the members are deep music heads and very active participants in the scene (Full disclaimer: No Love features two parts of the Sorry State Voltron. Daniel Lupton is the head, and Seth Beard is the green cat appendage. Both play guitar.) Speculating punk atrophy would be understandable, but this new record demonstrates the complete opposite.
Those around for their inception watched No Love struggle with their footing, treading those awkward tween years as a snotty punk band. Once the dual guitar chemistry gelled and expanded from trading hardcore riffs to a high tension game of set-and-spike leads, the shows started getting better and tighter. That confidence bled out Elizabeth Lynch’s guarded nervousness, which she replaced with her signature sarcastic menace (“Got a big mouth and bad blood / Don’t matter if I don’t want it to / It’s going to run / You think you’ve seen me flip my shit / Kid you ain’t seen nothing yet”). Soon, No Love became a live spectacle.
No Love’s explosive debut LP, Choke On It, has been simmering in a centrifuge and wastes no time hurling potently packed punk rock nuggets at the listener. Clocking in 13 songs at 21:12, it’s a furious listen. To quote Daniel, “We’re vicious editors. It’s like we write in a subtractive method, gradually removing everything that feels cliche, boring, or otherwise less than 100% awesome until the songs are distilled down to their essence.” This “all killer, no filler,” approach whittles away the straightforward Circle Jerks foundation, and layers Die Kreuzen-esque skittering leads that marathon like Death Side solos – all with the tightly-wound discipline of Minor Threat. Couple that with malaise over bad television: “Feed me those dripping words / Those saccharine lines that make me wanna hurl / My body gets wider / My brain gets duller / But I need the drama / Like I need water.” Put that in your pressure cooker and smoke it. At this point, the punchy cover of local breakouts ISS’s “Back Taxes and Anaphylaxis” is just gravy.
RIYL: Zero Boys, two player Sonic the Hedgehog levels, giving out bouillon cubes as Halloween candy, and concentrated orange juice.
– Vincent Chung