With a name like Alien Nosejob I was expecting something a little more spacey or out there than what you get on Suddenly Everything Is Twice As Loud. A one man band of sorts, led by Jake Robertson (Ausmuteants, Hierophants, Drug Sweat, and more), Alien Nosejob is melodic and thoughtful, playing a variety of punk-inspired sounds over 13 songs. The predominant sound is probably mod-inspired punk with pop sensibilities, soft vocals, and sharp edges. While that might make up 50% of the record, it’s really diverse, though, with post-punk elements, paranoid new wave, and a whole lot more.
The production mirrors the 1980s in many ways. It’s basic and the levels are all equal, letting the instrumentation pull together as a sum of the parts, including the vocals – which tempers the vibe a bit in those paranoid or angry moments, but also gives a soothing, chill (and sometimes sunny) feel that makes the listener really listen for the deeper effects. In other words, it’s subtle punk – which I guess will be my made-up term for this round of reviews. I’ll hold up “Alien Island” as an example for the whole record. The guitars drive and the emotion circles, building to a culmination that’s prominent but it’s not the star of the show. Instead that highlight is the bass interplay with the synthesizer that connects the coarse, more angular guitar with the melodic vocals and relaxed rhythm. “Freezing Cold” is the type of song that really jumps out to me, when the band has a little more energy in their step, so to speak. The song has those punchy blasts challenging the peppy rhythms. Despite the album title, this record doesn’t crank it up to 11 at any point. It feels collected and calculated, even a little bit too calm at times.
I hear influences from late ‘70s English post-punk, but also the aforementioned space rock and new wave styles. Of course, as I write that, the record replays the bonus track “Instrumental” at me, which is a surf jam whitewashed in synth. Another comparison might be something like Mind Spiders without the caffeine. There are a lot of familiar sounds at play, but it all pulls together into a really unique blend that feels cohesive even when one song to the next can totally switch gears. The production plays a big part in that cohesive feel, even if at times it also feels like it might be stifling some of the energy.