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Bride Of No No | b.o.n.n. appetite! (Atavistic)
As subculture movements in music go, 80s No Wave was as short-lived as the best of them, and as important to current musical climates as, say, punk or garage rock. As with those latter named styles, No Wave as a cultural signifier no longer exists as it was. Bands can espouse identical political philosophies (or anti-philosophies) and rock-out (or rumble, sputter, pant or putter) in similar fashion, but can never regain the context which birthed and sustained the original movement. This is all well and good, for modern music should, no matter how atavistic (heh), speak to its audience in modern terms, even if the language is heavily accented with the slang of days past. Bride Of No No are the closest thing I've heard to the sound of original No Wave stalwarts Contortions, and they deserve any and all praise they've received for such similarities. In the wave-less aught aughts, No No provide a restless tonic to the secure grooves promulgated by even the most strident of math-rock bands, a genre perhaps most owing to the original No Wave sound. No No are overtly political ?? their stage persona of a female quartet wrapped in white muslin (identities obscured) certainly signifies something about gender and identity ?? but lyrically such positions are difficult (if not impossible) to decipher. Admittedly, I haven't spent much time decoding their meanings, the music is so damn good I can't help but become involved in its intricacies over thematic ones. And so ... No No is math-rock gone limbs akimbo, jacked-up on speed, neurotically impaired and cloaked in a corner cutting its own flesh for relief. And yet, the music isn't overtly dark, it's just challenging enough to seem saturnine. No No flirt with melody, but the true melodic connections often need to be assembled within the head of the listener. Much like tonal experimentalists Joseph Celi and Phil Niblock - who pen compositions that induce tones (absent in the music itself) via intended interactions of tones within the human ear - No No's melodic ideas are best realized with the human brain enlisted to fill the occasional blank. If none of this seems to make much sense, fear not, for the band's music works equally well on a visceral level. In fact, intellectualism is often sublimated for guttural logic, for No No's sound is ultimately primal, and keenly sexual. Which makes sense, because Bride Of No No are a rock band, and one of the more important ones extant, no less. (Box 578256, Chicago, IL 60657, USA)

G. C. Weeks
CWAS #7 - Spring 2001

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