Reviews Nothington Borrowed Time


Borrowed Time

I’ll be honest, I missed Roads Bridges & Ruins, even after guitarist Chris Matulich said it would be quite a transition from All In. While I liked All In, for whatever reason I never got to its follow-up. 2011’s Borrowed Time is surely a reflection of the evolution in between. The Social Distortion influence is more tempered (though it’s still prevalent) and Nothington has come into their own in terms of writing songs. Sure, there’s a familiar genre-type feeling to the record, but this is its own band. There’s a maturity and a confidence in their voice that wasn’t as pronounced earlier, with more nuance and interplay between the instruments and voices.

Things get going quickly with “Captive Audience” and the record holds a steady tone throughout. That’s not to say individual tracks don’t stand out—“End of the Day” and “The Escapist” come to mind—but the record has a consistent album feel that’s lacking on a lot of releases. Playing Borrowed Time from start to finish, it will bear a stronger response than by playing the songs as isolated tracks. And for that Nothington should be commended. The songs conjure a tone that blends hardship with positivity, and the vocal tradeoffs in songs like “End of the Day” really help give a group feel. At times the lyrics convey a bit too much first person narrative, and the changeup on vocals helps to mediate that and give a greater communal tone.

Musically, the songs are mid-tempo, with singer Jay Northington’s raspy voice parlaying the emotion in a manner similar to Mike Ness or Ben Nichols in ability to conjure a sense of longing. The structures are varied and it’s really the emotional conveyance that sets the songs apart more than the chords or rhythms. Think somewhere in between Social Distortion and The Riot Before, with a touch of Against Me! thrown in for good measure. They show a range of influences that pull from beyond the usual three chord punk world, and I’d venture to say they’re something of an outlier on both labels they’ve been on (BYO and Red Scare). When Matulich’s voice counters the lead of Jay Northington, it offers a welcome variety that keeps things flowing, complementing without interruption, and the use some big whoa-ohs in “Far to Go” offer a hint at what a little more energy can do.

Overall, the songs blend together bit, but it’s a solid, consistent outing with some big moments. A little more variety in tempo, though, would go a long way in pushing this release up my 2011 list.

7.7 / 10Loren
KFAI - Undead
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7.7 / 10

7.7 / 10

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