A full year after its US release on Goner Records, ‘We Are Nots’ finally arrives in the UK courtesy of Heavenly Recordings. For a more Zeitgeist-reliant band, this break in momentum might well have proved fatal; luckily, the Memphis-based group give precisely zero fucks for fleeting trends, and about as few for our aural well-being.

Like fellow Goner alumni Jay Reatard and Ty Segall, the quartet deal in vehemently lo-fi punk-rock, albeit powered by the righteous aggression of riot grrrl rather than the testosterone-fuelled fury of the garage tradition. Their Doug Easley-produced debut is essentially a love letter to the simple pleasures of repetition. This is both as thrilling and exhausting as it sounds. 

Most songs follow a similar formula: Charlotte Watson’s breakneck sticks-work is bolstered by Madison Farmer’s stabbing bass lines, then Alexandra Eastburn trowels on weirdo synth sounds, and Natalie Hoffman tears through distorted power chords, or lays on discordant guitar effects, and drawls/bellows over the din. Unfortunately, a large proportion of the lyrics are submerged – save for regular repeated soundbites, shouted in unison – muddying the message.

Nots are at their best when they abandon the script entirely, with the brutal brevity of ‘Monochramatic’, or on a terrific Thee Oh Sees-style romp called ‘Televangelist’. It’s a damn shame they don’t deviate more, because 20+ minutes of the same thing is headache-inducing.


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