Nots - 3 - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Nots - 3

by Tim Sentz Rating:8 Release Date:2019-05-10
Nots - 3
Nots - 3

Noise rock underdogs Nots have been delivering pummeling punk rock consistently since 2011. Their debut record We Are Nots dropped in 2014 and kicked things off with an often-imitated brand of lo-fi-meets-noise-rock in the same vein as Ty Segall and Ex-Cult (the latter of which Nots frontwoman Natalie Hoffman used to be part of). Three years after their excellent sophomore album Cosmetic, the band returns as a threesome with the appropriately titled 3, and it’s every bit as on-brand as you’d expect for Nots.

Hoffman makes plenty of callbacks to the post-punk genre, bringing to mind Siouxsie Sioux on several cuts from 3. The trio kicks things off with “Low,” a re-introduction to their sound – abrasive guitars, a Priests-like monotone delivery, and distortion that would make Kim Gordon grin ear-to-ear. This brand of noise has become so much fun over the years, and Nots are enjoying themselves on 3. Even if the message is that of despair and anger, the band seem more refined. “Woman Alone” feels like a surf-rock anthem for sunny beach bum days but pulls you in with its psychedelic warbling before dropping you into a bed of crunchy guitars that seem ripped from the 80s NYC punk scene.

Sonic Youth-isms aside, Nots have crafted their best album to date with 3; it feels like a culmination of everything they’ve been moving toward on previous outings. “Floating Hand” might be the most pop-accessible we’ve heard from them, and while it seems like it could have fit on The Seduction of Kansas by Priests last month (another trio doing wickedly good things with the genre), it’s still exhilarating to hear Hoffman cohesively hit the nail every time with her repeated lyrics.

At the heart of the record is “Persona,” with its gothic Kinks-ian chord strumming throughout it, Nots craft ear candy for the noise-lovers of the world. 3 never feels dull, only progressive from track to track. At only 30 minutes, it’s a testament that Nots can cram so much palatable sound in a short amount of time, much like Empath did on their record from last week Active Listening: Night on Earth. “Half Painted House” contains streamlined grooves which get etched in your brain. It’s heavy-metal meets post-punk with a thick layer of lo-fi production as the icing on the cake.

The best Nots songs contain all of their influences on display but still feels like a Nots song at its core. “Built Environment” closes out the record, and it’s the best Nots song to date. What it does differently than the rest of the record is features some of the most progressive instrumentation seen from the band. Taking their Sonic Youth, Siouxsie, and Jay Reatard love and molding it into a riveting punk song was no easy task, but “Built Environment” leaves us wanting more when it finishes. It’s the landmark Nots song that fans of the band have been wanting. Less than 4 minutes, it feels like their most epic finish to date – the perfect cap to an already great record.

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