What are a couple of LA noise rats like No Age trying to say with a stargazing track like "Katerpiller" smack in the middle of their new album? No beat, no vocals, just a couple of forlorn chords throbbing in the distance for a minute or so. It might be a pensive little soundscape designed as a spacy segue, or it might be some 10-second loop captured from a slobbery mic the night before. It's hard to say. But the good thing is that no one's daring us to figure it out. No Age dole out two-faced DIY noise and shaggy guitar pop to a blogscape clogged with blabberingly high-minded dissertations on the stuff, but the music shrugs off pretensions like a pair of stanky Vans and gets down to infectious bedroom rocking on this most ripped of their weirdo releases yet.
Everything in Between is light on experimental filler, focusing on fuzzy punk melodies and Dean Spunt's son-of-Dead-Milkmen whine. Some stuff suggests 10th-generation tape dubs, like the closer, "Chem Trails." But vocals and guitar strumming are ever more in favor on this record, which can sound downright intelligible. The squealboxes still pop up, but as shout-outs to their hometown Smell scene. "Valley Hump Crash" and "Glitter" shuffle by on busted adolescent nostalgia. "Depletion" picks up the delirium of 2008's "Teen Creep" and melts the band's most blatant rock moment, a zippery guitar solo that folds up the song with malfunctioning glee. "There's no way I can get out of debt now — everyone around me knows I'm in trouble," sings Spunt in "Common Heat." Like the free-form "Katerpiller" or the short piano dirge in "Positive Amputation," the depressed line floats through the room as if it belonged among the Superchunk sing-alongs. It's an effortless move to help firm up No Age's place as one of the most bi-polar party bands around.