It felt like this year we saw more post-punk bands than in past years. While No Wave isn’t the largest subgenre, the bands who identify with that world create some of the most intense punk you’ll hear in a while. While we wished we’d have caught this album when it dropped, London’s USA Nails make some of the best No Wave noise punk going. On their latest album Life Cinema is one of the best noise punk records you’ll hear in a good while.
The band’s approach here is what wins. The way these guys construct a song is far and away better than a lot of the no wave noise punk you’ve heard. From open to close, the album feels like the band’s goal is to never let up on the listener. The opening song “Smile” lets you in on what’s to come. The mix of noise and intense pacing creates a tone that feels inward and still dystopian in ways. The vocals repeat like an anthem, while the band takes you down a twisted path of no return. The snappy drums that steer the stride of “Creative Industries” give you an upbeat song while they lay waste in under two minutes.
While it’s safe to say that all of the songs here are top notch, some hit better than others. “Man Act” has the immense noise touches that feel like you’re in a street fight, “Microphone” has the type of gurgled bass that sounds like the end of days and “Little Does He Know” comes in exactly where you want it to. But as these are all killer examples of what noise punk should sound like, the best song of the twelve comes on “A Fair Nickel.” The way the song sounds like what happens when you push instruments to their limit, the punk guise in how the song plays out and the acute and decisive anguish that lies just at the surface makes the song one of the more memorable on an album full of memorable songs.
Life Cinema is available to purchase directly from Hex Records on multiple formats. It can also be streamed on all streaming sites or purchased digitally from all online retailers. USA Nails is set to perform in Manchester, UK at The Peer Hat on February 08.
Image Credits: Photo Courtesy of Artist.