No-Fi // no fi
Recommended Track: Mirrors
Up-and-coming Los Angeles acid-punk band No-Fi’s debut is an inspired 4-track creation pulling from the genre grab-bag, covering more ground stylistically in one short EP than most bands do in an entire studio album. Ranging from garagey-pysch to proto-punk to noise and back, No-Fi bears their teeth as a decade-blending force of punk collagists.
The self-titled EP starts off with a climbing, three-chord hook that makes me feel like I’m watching The Turtles play a show at The Smell. The infectiously retro chorus of the repeated “ba-ba-ba-ba-ba” is an obvious homage to 60s sunshine-pop yet dressed down and kicked in the nads by a heavily distorted second guitar for the sake of punk. “Shitty Car” is a beer-soaked jammer cut from the same cloth as Ty Segall and his second-wave garage-rock disciples. A single chord revs in the verses as lead-singer Spencer Hardling’s boyish vocal spasms invite me to “take a ride in a shitty car.” The guitars are twangy, the drums sounds like they’re being played on the trash cans behind CBGB’s, and the bass thumps along, flexing with a few moments of impressive neck-hopping, all in the spirit of inherently hybridized 1970s garage punk.
“Mirrors” is perhaps the most diverse track on the EP. Once again, No-Fi uses chopped-up chords to create an escalating melody while the drums give free-wheeling guitars a firm parameter, but what I enjoyed most about this track was the completely unexpected minute-long departure from acid punk into gloriously heavy, apocalyptic surf metal. That riff is in my opinion the strongest moment of the entire EP.
The last song, cleverly titled “Last Song,” starts out sounding too much like a Buzzcocks cover for the preceding tracks of genre-bending splendor, but around the two minute mark, the song morphs into a gorgeous, dreamy, rainbow of psych. I thoroughly enjoyed this EP and was genuinely impressed by the range of styles packed into such a small space, the quality of the recording and No-Fi’s undeniable punk pastiche.