NONAGON - They Birds

Nonagon - They Birds

12 songs
36:03 minutes
***** ****
Controlled Burn


The Internet never forgets! Nine years ago I was contacted by Nonagon, a punk rock band from Chicago. Back then I didnít get around to reviewing their third EP. For that I apologise, because now that I spend some time with their first longplayer They Birds, coming after seven EPs, singles and split releases, I notice how cool these guys are sounding. The three-piece consists of three musicians, with more or less greying hair, but that is what happens when you have been a band for nearly twenty years. They are influenced by the sound of cult record labels Touch and Go, Dischord, SST and AmRep, so basically the sound of the late eighties and early nineties, an era where these musicians probably grew up.

Their music takes the bass heavy punk rock of Fugazi and puts it through a filter of early underproduced HŁsker DŁ, and what comes out is actually quite amazing. The eleven songs Ė one track is a short comedy piece Ė all work on a same high level: the drums are fierce, and the guitar and bass both have an equally important role, not unlike some stuff NoMeansNo did back in the days, although Nonagonís guitar has more of a punk edge. The vocals are hoarse yet melodic, and are a perfect fit for the music. The production is simple, direct, lacks the glossiness of contemporary bands, but packs enough power to make you feel like standing in the middle of the musiciansí triangle, just like it used to be at sweaty punk rock / hardcore shows thirty years ago.

Itís hard to pick any favourites, but what I like is that there is no lull on the album, despite the fact that this is only Nonagonís first longplayer. The opener Tuck The Long Tail Under is an ideal entry point, but also later tracks like Salt with its dramatic vocal lines, and Jeff(s) with its incredibly backing vocals during the chorus, are a sign that Nonagon really had enough material to fill an entire album. The album was recorded during two sessions in 2019 and is only now released in 2021, possibly to the whole pandemic situation out there. It would certainly be cool to see these guys perform their outstanding melodic punk rock with a healthy side of noise rock, but before that can happen, I advise you to listen to their first longplayer. Itís a wonderful trip down memory lane for all those who like the bands from the record labels that influenced Nonagon.

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