Nots: Cosmetic 12" (new)

Goner Records

$16.50

The second full-length statement from Memphis’ Nots, Cosmetic fearlessly attacks the rough edges between desire, deceit, appearance and reality. Not chanting down Babylon, Natalie Hoffmann screams straight into its face. In this Game Of Death, Nots run through the maze of mirrors with sledgehammers— oh, the sound of mirrors smashing—let’s smash some more! Nots are still a wild guitar band, but above and below the guitar, bass and drum pound, Alexandra Eastburn’s analog synth blurps melodies and nonsense, teasing squiggles of freedom which defy the false grid of modern life. With Hoffmann on guitar and vocals, Eastburn on synth, Charlotte Watson beating drums, and Meredith Lones steering a solid path through the chaos on bass, Nots are neither content with the smug “stare at your shoes” approach of bands from both coasts, nor an Earth-hugging “we need to get back to nature” hippie cop-out. There might not be any answers here. That might be the point. Nots have arrived at the next level of their attack with confidence and music that lays waste to the wasteland without romantic attachments..

Our take: The debut LP from Memphis's Nots from a while back was easy to get excited about because it had such a fresh sound, combining jittery punk with a bunch of synth noises and shouted vocals that had more in common with hardcore than traditional punk or new wave music. As much as I liked that record, I have to acknowledge that much of its power came from that sound and approach... without real pop hooks, it's really the arrangements and the overall vibe and intensity that shaped the band's overall aesthetic. Cosmetic, however, finds them ably adding to their repertoire. There still aren't really pop moments of any stripe, but instead of adding melody to hook your ear, Nots take the path forged by bands like Destruction, using variations in tempo and volume to vary the texture and make Cosmetic more than the relentless blast that We Are Nots was. And Cosmetic is a much better record for it... the band are undeniably powerful and their playing has grown subtler and more sophisticated. If you liked the first LP this is a must-hear, as the band grows and surprises us in all the right ways.
Tags: 10s bf16 female-fronted garage punk recommended