We Are Nots is the debut album from Memphis “girl gang” Nots. The band are a long time collaboration between guitarist Natalie Hoffman and drummer Charlotte Watson. The band’s current incarnation now includes Madison Farmer on bass and Alexandra Eastburn on synths. “Girl gang” is a perfect way to describe Nots. The raucous riot-grrrl-esque vocal stylings give the band a classic punk rock sound, as well as the buzzing distorted guitars and 50’s b-movie sound effects. From first listen, I imagined Nots to be some kind of illegitimate love child of The Cramps, Lydia Lunch and Bikini Kill. The band’s sound brings me back to riot grrrl at it’s most bratty and seventies punk rock at it’s most noisy and riveting.
The album opens with Insect Eyes, an almost psychobilly like affair. The track opens with sinister synths and jangling guitars. The first song delivers the kind of punk energy that it promises from vocals to music. I was immediately drawn in and wanted to keep listening. Decadence is their single. The song delivers more girl gang shrieking vocals with work extremely with the buzz saw punk guitar that rolls through the track. The synths weave through the chaos effectively. The song is catchy and definitely a strong single. Reactor is a more psychedelic affair to the previous. Again, I am captivated by the vocal style that brings me back to the type of shrieking bratty delivery of Lydia Lunch when she was in Teenage Jesus and The Jerks. Lydia Lunch is a pioneer of the New York No Wave post punk movement, starting in the late seventies.
The record manages to encompass DIY punk and psychedelia in simple two to three minute punk rock tracks. Get Along clocks in at 48 seconds. While the album definitely starts strong and definitely delivers what you want from a punk rock perspective; by the middle tracks of album, I’m afraid it may suffer from delivering slightly too much of the same. The punk genre is laden with sub genres, those who are alt rock inspired revivalists and those who deliver more of a classic garage punk type affair like Nots. The difficulty with creating punk records now, is that there are so many of them out there. It’s difficult to tell whether Nots should stand out despite theirs being a perfectly decent punk album with short snappy tracks.
Monochromatic is a track that demonstrates more of the vocals with attitude that I really enjoyed listening to this album. The track White Noise has a Cherry Bomb like intro. White Noise is rich with sinister guitar distortion. Televangelist is a Sonic Youth type noise rock track. The album ends with the track Talk Show. We Are Nots is an enjoyable garage punk album. The band succeeds in conveying an energy that is usually experienced best in a live setting. The album is energetic, the vocals charismatic and the hooks catchy enough to draw you in. The album would suit those who want something loud and brash for their collection and definitely worth listening if you are a fan of punk with female vocals.
We Are Nots is out 11th November 2014 off Goner Records.