Nomeansno haven’t had an original idea since 2006. At least not one so thundering as to give it to the people. Now they’ve decided to smuggle some old material. Yet do not be mistaken. This is not one of those boring deluxe editions – original album + meandering demo filler. It features just the filler. If Nomeansno had decided to call it quits after 0+2=1, this material would be fresh and exciting; however, they re-recorded most of it for other albums. So, there’s not much NEW stuff in here. I guess it can be considered a part-deluxe / interesting hits / B-sides / whatever release. Overall, it is notably all over the place. 0+2=1 is one of their most eclectic albums: not as fucked up as Small Parts Isolated And Destroyed or Wrong, but varied and catchy. Its remains, offered here, follow a similar trend.
“Cats, Sex and Nazis”, probably one of their most intriguing song titles, features a droning bass beat and an increasingly intense sound. Nomeansno have always been relatively Fall-esque in some of their longer, extended pieces, which are based on repetition (something they mastered in One). This is the kind of song that could go on and on forever and wouldn’t get tiresome. Besides it is a celebration of zombies and flesh-eating. The cut is present in the Why Do They Call Me M. Happy album (as it features the line “Do you know why they call me Mr. Happy?), as is “I Need You”, which continues the iterative brainfuck bass à la Flipper, the other two instruments seemingly subdued until three minutes in, when creeping guitar spirals and cymbal waves strike in, eerily. The punk minimalism is barely interrupted, only a brief wall of guitar sound emerges. The “controlled tension” formula sinuously displayed (also, some of Wright’s most melodramatic vocals). Featured in The Worldhood of the World (As Such), “Lost”‘s start promises a rockin’ track, with a pre-climatic screeching guitar-fest and a chantable “I wanted it all” line, yet it’s not until two minutes in that the guys make the song explode in rushing melody – and it doesn’t last long. Again, Nomeansno’s interest relies on the thumping proto-chorus, not the verse designed for the cut (not all that special – standard post-Wipers punk rock). They even manage to include keyboards at one point. ’tis gotta be one of their most “edge-of-the-seat” compositions. Nauseating. “Blinding Light” is a rather sub-par punk effort, which can be found in Nomeansno offspring band Mr. Right and Mr. Wrong’s lone record. The imaginatively titled “John Instrumental” is a delicious post-hardcore affair, although not very distinctive, having archetypal rhythm changes, angular guitars, aggravating bass and mathy melodies. “Victim’s Choice/Happy Bridge/Ghosts intro” – whose title and sound are awfully reminiscent of Victims Family – combines cuts from Worldhood, Happy and 0+2. It is a neat reminder of why Nomeansno are the kings of “jazzcore”. Funky, groovy, noisy shit, complete with yelling. Though the complexity is oppressive and smart, the track suffers, precisely, from being the pinnacle of “jazzcore”. That is, being a treat to listen to – but after it’s over, remaining forgettable. Only the latter part of the song can be somehow recalled. This is tiring music to listen to at home – but a blast to experience live. “Now it’s Dark”, an unreleased track, re-uses the hammering formula of “Lost” and manages to be just as tense. Its little climaxes (with the Wrights exclaiming dark dark now it’s dark!) are vintage messy hardcore, but as usual Nomeansno manage to force the track to linger on, complete with whispered lyrics instantly followed by screams. Fun stuff. Another version of “Cats, Sex and Nazis” closes the disc. As unnecessary as that might sound, it’s always a pleasure to listen to one of their most memorable (and even hummable) compositions.
Nice music from these Wright individuals, expertly designed for completists. Thing is, the tracks included are not particularly among Nomeansno’s best (except maybe “Lost” and “Cats, Sex and Nazis”). You’re better off listening to the albums which followed 0+2=1. Actually, you should go and eat everything the band ever recorded and pray for a new breathtaking release, which is waaay overdue.