Male Bonding - Nothing Hurts

by Rich Morris Rating:6 Release Date:2010-05-10

Dalston lo-fi noisenicks Male Bonding sit somewhere on the garage rock spectrum between No Age and Vivian Girls (who actually make an appearance on final track 'Worst to Come'). That is to say, overall it's pretty standard stuff with occasional flashes of inventiveness which lift Nothing Hurts above the ordinary. The opening three tracks, 'Year's Not Long', 'All Things This Way' and 'Your Contract', burst with fuzzy melodic riffs and zoned out vocals. So far, so feel-good-summer-record-for-the-hipster-brigade.

Things get interesting with 'Weird Feelings' which balances an effervescently pretty melody line with a huge, steroid pumped rhythm and riff worthy of Nirvana. 'Franklin', with its dreaming indie-boy vocals and echo-drenched drums, could be off the new Drums album, which is another way of saying it's very good. Tracks like these are a pleasant and promising diversion from what Male Bonding do best and repeatedly over the course of this album: uncomplicated, fuzzy, riffy pop-punk. As the album wares on, and tracks like 'Crooked Scene' and 'Nothing Remains' bop and head-bang away, it becomes harder to ignore the influence of early Ash, Hüsker Dü and Nevermind-era Nirvana. It also sounds like Lemonheads. And it's on Sub Pop. So, look, we can mince words and beat around the bush here, but we both know what Nothing Hurts is. It's grunge. Grunge is back. If that sentence made you glad, go buy this album. If not, steer clear of this and the checked shirts currently clogging up Topman and Next.

Richard Morris

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