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NOMEANSNO - One (Wrong)

Album number nine from Canada's finest, NOMEANSNO have been knocking out class, jazz-fuelled punk rock since the eighties with no sign of letting up. And though they may seem to look like your dear old Granddad let first impressions not fool you - these guys can still rock with the best of 'em.

First listen to "One" and I must admit, I was disappointed. This is not "Wrong", their milestone to which every other release will be compared, this is more of a throw back to '93's "Why do they call me Mr. Happy?" in that each song grooves along, twisting and turning care of the amazing musicianship of brothers Rob and John Wright. But, after numerous listens, the mood of the album hits you. Then you realise and appreciate what's on offer here.

Opener 'The Graveyard Shift' lyrically deals with a guy who works nights, who had a fight with his girlfriend and he contemplates through the long hours where he went wrong and how sorry he is - and musically, it's just that, the song plods along as if dragging it's feet, feeling sorry for itself, yet it works BRILLIANTLY. And it sets the tone for the rest of the album, 'Under The Sea', 'Our Town', 'The Phone Call', 'Hello/Goodbye', nothing frantic, nothing hurried… until you reach 'A Little Too High', before you know it you're sitting there eye-widened with disbelief.

Driven with a bass-line that will NEVER leave you (you will be humming this in your sleep, I promise you) 'ALTH' is the kind of song you'd expect wizened black jazz players to be playing whilst wasted on whiskey and weed hooked up to Marshall's - "Tangled intravenous tubes, the smell of alcohol and glue/A dildo candle in a skull, you know the routine very well/Your lower back is arched and stiff under my claws/Like a crocodile child I nestle in your jaws" - quite frankly one of the greatest songs you ever experience.

One of the highlights of 2000, no doubt.

Ken Blackmore

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