San-Fran punk's long-awaited return with collection of ferocious gritty anthems.
Let’s face it; one thing Punk does so well is create a sense of community; create a live setting where you want to embrace your fellow gig-goers with a bottle in hand and shout along in a cathartic release of energy that's difficult to find anywhere else. It’s not just those of us in the crowds that know this. Nothington do too. “In the End”, their latest release after a lengthy absence, is yearning to be heard and experienced in such a setting. The opening track is very typical of the “gruff punk” approach taken by Nothington and acts as a suitable introduction to the album, however does feel slightly underwhelming; possibly as a result of the quality of the two songs that follow, which must rank as one of the best doubles of the year. “Cobblestones” and “The Lies that I Need” showcase every aspect about what makes Nothington such a fantastic band; two singers and songwriter's skills really on show, coupled with a superb use of melody; using Jay Nothington’s gravelly tones to add depth and Chris Matulich’s softer more melodic voice to create a loftiness. The balance works perfectly especially on the latter of the two and demonstrates how to effectively make the best use of two vocalists; rather than fighting each other or being too similar they work perfectly allowing each other to shine when the song requires.
It's not just the vocals and lyrics that excel; special praise should be heaped upon drummer Luke Ray whose contribution is really noticeable throughout the album and should be highlighted especially on “Nothing but Beaches”; which despite feeling like an outlier on the album, given its slower pace and more aggressive feel, is an absolutely ferocious anthem of angst and anger delivered though an anguished grimace. I defy anyone not to fall in love with the complexities of the beats and arrangements. It's truly a stunning song!
Given the growth of the band, it’s also nice that there are some familiarities in the album; drawing comparisons with long-time legends of the scene (Stranger Than Fiction era Bad Religion on “The Hard Way”) or more recent contemporaries (fellow Red Scare alumni The Holy Mess on “Things We Used To Say”). That’s not to say it feels repetitive, it just knows its audience and delivers what is expected - and delivers it with style and confidence.
Five years can feel like a long time in music; however for Nothington the time has been well spent, polishing and crafting these songs to the point where they will live in the hearts and voices of many a fist-in-the-air punk for years to come! I was gutted when their recent Leeds show fell through, however being more familiar with this new release will only make their next visit to these shores more special!
Stream and download In The End here: https://nothington.bandcamp.com/album/in-the-end
Like Nothington here: https://www.facebook.com/nothington/
This review was written by Richard Nair.