Few things are stable in this topsy-turvy world. One constant has been Nothington.
With the release of In the End, the San Francisco band’s fifth full-length, they’ve continued down the road they started with All In. It’s classic chord-driven punk with a working class, heart on its sleeve aesthetic. Early reviews compared them to Social Distortion, which isn’t horribly inaccurate but it doesn’t hit the bulls eye either.
The band’s grisly vocals, courtesy of Jay Northington, define the sound, giving it an everyman element that resonates even before the lyrical repetition and elongated delivery. “End Transmission” and “Capture” are two examples on In the End that showcase the style. The latter song and it’s lyrical snippet of “Wasting our lives/ wasting inside…can’t you just see/ there’s no relief…capture this moment in time” exemplifies it well. The language is accessible and to the point. It’s personal, yet easy to relate to.
While the coarse vocals give nice warmth, they do lack range. Many bands never overcome this element. Nothington mix up their tempos to work around the sameness factor, with Chris Matulich also trading off on the mic for some variety – well on display in the title track. There are faster songs like “Things We Used to Say” and “End Transmission,” and others where they slow it down. The band pulls it off well, though sometimes it gets a little too dreary in the slower moment; “Burn After Reading” is one example where it starts tugging at the heart but, at some point before the 3:43 mark, it loses its momentum and hits a wall instead. They counter that lull well in other tunes, like “Nothing But Beaches,” with a dynamic shift that segues into a poppy “whoa-oh” in the middle. While they often successfully shift before it lags, that’s not always the case and the record feels longer than the 38-minutes it clocks because of this.
At their best, Nothington is powerful and emotional music that’s equally rooted in the Bruce Springsteen or Johnny Cash underbelly of the American working class as much as it owes to the punk rock story of my life. It’s fundamental but with an earnest and undeniable emotion. While it never goes off the rails, sometimes it grinds to a halt when the band mixes it up. In the End is a solid release that delivers what I expect of the band, but I’m still waiting for Nothington to really hit the next level.
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 ...
Posted Nov. 11, 2018, 9:52 a.m.
Currently midway through a European tour, Nothington has released their final record, a split 7" with Swingin' Utters, released on Red Scare Industries. “Don’t be bummed this is our ...
Posted May 8, 2017, 8:56 p.m.
Nothington continue a busy 2017 with a tour scheduled for this summer, to be joined by MakeWar and Joe McMahon. The band released In The End in late winter and ...
Posted Feb. 26, 2017, 3:14 p.m.
Joe McMahon, also of Smoke or Fire, is currently on tour across Europe in support of Nothington. In addition to playing solo and full-band gigs on the tour he is ...
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