Saturday, November 30, 2019

NoNames - End of the Beginning (1983, Vague)

This San Diego-area quartet may have existed during the cultural apex of the 1980s, but they hardly strove to be a product of it, not sonically anyway.  In fact, NoNames didn't blatantly emulate any of their contemporaries either, though you may pick up on trace elements of the Talking Heads and the Cars.  The band's approach wasn't slick and gaudy enough for the Top 40 set, and all the better as they bore a creative and organic modus operandi which ranged from the jazzy percolations of the sprite "10:00 (Life Goes On)" to the rapid, piano-driven rave-up "Ungrateful."  Side two of End of the Beginning is even more rewarding, leading off with "1 2 3 Go!!" a vivacious, two minute power-pop outburst with charm for miles, that wouldn't sound out of place on those homegrown Powerpearls and Teen Line compilations I'm so fond of.  Up next is the appropriately titled "SeeSaw," featuring vocals that pan alternately between the left and right channels, to near dizzying effect.  End... closes out with the thoughtful and strikingly melodic "What Am I," sublimely splitting the difference between guitars and whirring synths culminating in a big, plump hook to play us out.  A big round of applause goes to NoNames keyboard wrangler/mouthpiece Hannes for setting me up with a copy of this winsome record.

01. 10:00 (And Life Goes On)
02. The Masses
03. I Got a Call
04. Ungrateful
05. 1 2 3 Go!!
06. SeeSaw
07. Something in Common
08. What Am I?

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