Nomeansno breaks new ground with Tour EP 1

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      Tour EP 1 (Wrong)

      Marking Rob Wright’s return to the role of primary musical director of Nomeansno, Tour EP 1 breaks new ground for the Vancouver-based prog-punk three-piece, but doesn’t always succeed. Based on demos composed by Wright on ProTools, the EP shows far more interest in texture and effects than past studio ventures have, and a willingness to explore song structures that simply don’t seem very Nomeansno-like.

      “Faceless May”, the moody mid-tempo opener, is dominated by an echo-heavy guitar part that calls far too much attention to itself. “Slave” joins a monolithic, quasi-industrial drum pattern with a tuneful blues vocal about people who have sold themselves out, and while it’s less ambitious, it’s also more convincing. “Old” is a magnificently loping, waltz-timed meditation on, I assume, age; it taps into deep pain and melancholy in pursuit of transcendence, ending up as a sort of punk dirge. Vastly richer than the demo that appeared last year on the band’s MySpace page, it seems the most fully cooked of the songs on offer—Nomeansno’s most successful experiment in sounding nothing like themselves.

      The final tune, “Something Dark Against Something Light”, is more up-tempo, with compelling, martial drumbeats and a surprisingly Middle Eastern–sounding guitar; the catchy verses vaguely evoke “Youth” from 1998’s Dance of the Headless Bourgeoisie, making it the tune least likely to confuse long-time fans.

      Not sure if I’m excited or worried about how much Nomeansno is prepared to alter its sound at this late stage in the game—but I’m definitely intrigued.