Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

No Age: Everything in Between [Sub Pop, 2010]
Having disbanded their punk trio to prove they weren't simply or even primarily punks, Dean Spunt and Randy Randall apply their bag of arty tricks to a punk album with a punk narrative. "I try to make myself seem vague/Cause the words get so engraved"--OK, understood, only not entirely, which is how they want it. Hence 10 of these songs are directed at a "you" that could be a boss, a colleague, an audience, a roommate, or, obviously, a girlfriend, but who is only clearly a female once. There are also three instrumentals, which contextualize the songful riffage of most of the other tracks with the atmospheres in which they've specialized. But the decisive atmosphere is provided by the riffage--hooks and power chords as anthemic as any in punk, only shot through with their atmospheric chops and innovations. In other words, it's a punk album with a difference, which at this late date is the only kind you can count on for a thrill. And what it says beyond its seeming vagueness is: "we" care about "you." A