No Such Noise! is a band that appears to think that it’s still 1998. The New Jersey six piece’s newest EP, Life Goes On, takes its musical cues from exactly where you’d think they do, winding up with a five song EP that melds ska and pop punk to create something that sounds an awful lot like Less Than Jake, if Less Than Jake was inspired less by the Descendents and ALL, and more by All Time Low and Fall Out Boy.
Musically, these guys have nailed the pop punk and ska combination: the fast palm-muted verses transition smoothly into the quick upstrokes, and the trumpets and sax go back and forth between slowly coming into the mix before the chorus to exploding during the instrumental breaks in songs. It’s absolutely perfect for those who still hold albums like Losing Streak or Turn the Radio Off in high regard.
Lyrically the band members find themselves in an interesting position. Their pop punk roots have them naturally turn to sour songs about failing to attract romance, although their 90’s ska influences are telling them to make the songs self-deprecating while also throwing in a humorous edge. This is evident in a song like the terribly titled “Slutz” which is about a girl that the protagonist wants, but she sleeps around instead of being monogamous, but then it’s revealed that even if she did live the sexual lifestyle that he wants her to, there’s still the huge problem of her being a racist anyway (because it’s okay to be sexist when the person in question is a bigot). On a lighter note, the band also tackles topics of growing up and moving forward blindly into the future on tracks like “Cold Side” and “West Chester”. Arguably these are the stronger songs on Life Goes On, showing a maturity while also not relying on the tired “broken hearted stalker who can’t accept a break up” trope that pop punk bands use so much these days.
Throughout the EP’s five songs, No Such Noise! attempts to have it all by combining their love for upstrokes and brass with a passion for sugary hooks and power chords. It works on some levels, particularly when the band isn’t singing about stalking girls or judging them for their life choices (judging someone for being racist is okay though). With a little bit of work these guys, alongside fellow pop punk/ska aficionados, We Are the Union, are helping bring ska back from the dead for a whole new generation.
In all seriousness though, for a band that is hugely inspired by the third wave ska bands of the 1990’s, No Such Noise! is lacking in the songs about beer department. Let’s work on that, boys.