- by Steve Reynolds Rating:8 Release Date:2016-09-09 Label: Heavenly Records
Nots are a 4 girl group, they like guitars, they like making a fervent racket, they play at a frenetic pace, they like to screech and shout. What’s not to like about any of that?
This is their second album, ‘Cosmetic’ which follows up their 2014 debut ‘We Are Nots’
There are just nine tracks on ‘Cosmetic’ with a total running time clocking in at just over 30 minutes and when opener ‘Blank Reflection’ kicks the doors off the hinges with a frenetic swarm of highly charged drums and thrashing guitars you couldn’t really ask for anything else better to lay the foundations for the rest of the album. Natalie Hoffman nails the lyrics, in a similar vein to what Sleater Kinney did on their marvellous ‘Woods’ LP. She is right on the money and when she barks: “It’s a blank reflection” everything just feels right, tight and together. But less we forget are the interesting synth lines that Alexandra Eastburn’s manages to eek out with unwitting ease and exuberance.
‘Rat King’ is a foot to the floor blowout. All yelps and aggression, once again helped by Eastburn’s brilliant keyboard skills. ‘Cold Line’ reminds me of the band Shopping, not in terms of bounce and danceability but in arrangement and simplicity. Post punk sounds and Riot Grrlll are well documented on ‘Cosmetic’ and when the two collide the outcome is cataclysmic, see ‘New Structures’.
The album’s title track, is much more controlled and slower but where they tread unfamiliar territory here, they still maintain a level of heavy intensity and when Hoffman’s serrated misanthropic vocal hits like a juggernaut careering into a diner it carries so much intensity and beguiling warmth.
‘Inherently Low’ is great, a bouncing twang of a bass-line, roomy drums and fuzzy guitar all gel simply and effortlessly to make a belter of a track, probably the best song on the whole album.
Last track ‘Entertain Me’ is just over seven minutes long and is a viscous heavy wig-out which showcases the inherent qualities of Nots: the ability to make great shards of noise pop and to do it so well that you cannot afford to be suckered in by what they do.
‘Cosmetic’ is a real blast. You should give it a blast as well.