Alien Nosejob is a one-person project by Jake Robertson. On Suddenly Everything Is Twice As Loud, released in January, it was heavily influenced by melodic garage-punk. This time around the word was that Once Again The Present Becomes The Past is a hardcore record.
So of course it starts with a short song called “Piano Prelude.” Because even when you know what to expect of Alien Nosejob, it’s full of surprises. After that soothing moment, it’s a fast and fiery “Airborne Toxic Event,” with rhyming couplets shouted over angular chords. After a calm start to 2020, I think this is where we all sit right now.
While it’s definitely in the hardcore genre book, Once Again is about the mood more than the volume. This isn’t chugga chugga, loud-for-the-sake-of-loud hardcore. It’s defined by fierce rhythms that pound and pummel the listener instead of providing a tribal rallying cry. The guitars range between choppy and winding, conveying anxiety in equal ration with frustration. It fits a tone more in line with bands like Night Birds or maybe Psyched To Die than your standard circle pit stompers.
“Air Raid on NT” and “Present Becomes The Past” highlight what sets this record apart. Sure, there are those beatdown songs like “Pointed Shears” or the buzzsaw guitars of “9.58,” but it’s the anxious tones and unique changes-of-direction that make Once Again just as manic as it is angry. The countdown-style progression in “Air Raid on NT” builds tension, then timely back-up vocals and bridges bring the catharsis. A key change and some surf elements then switch modes again in its final act. “Present Becomes The Past” fits the genre bill nicely, but with so much more depth. It’s spastic, reminding me of the punkier elements of Mr. Bungle or Nomeansno but without being so overt. There are almost cartoony elements in the layering -- which is pretty damn impressive for a one-man band -- but, just as impressive, those effects are understated to the point where they aren’t a distraction. That, in a nutshell, is where the latest Alien Nosejob stands out. It’s angry hardcore, but instead of barking and stomping, it shouts, wags fingers and bemoans.
This sucker is a grower. While it’s a one-person band, the depth is impressive and more details jump out on each listen. It’s minimal enough to convey real human emotion but structured enough that you’re often surprised at what comes next.
Available from Iron Lung Records in the US and Anti-Fade in Australia.
Posted Sept. 5, 2020, 5:52 p.m.
Iron Lung Records has announced Once Again The Present Becomes The Past, a new LP by Alien Nosejob (aka Jake Robertson). Having released Suddenly Everything Is Twice As Loud earlier ...
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