Negative Approach

Friends of No One

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The first in a projected series of archival releases from Detroit's most fearsome hardcore outfit, Friends of No One is a six-song EP documenting a little-known period in the life of Negative Approach. Negative Approach broke up not long after the recording of their only full album, Tied Down, and in order to tour behind the LP, singer John Brannon put together a new version of NA featuring guitarist Kelly Dermody and a rhythm section identified only as Dave on bass and Mike on drums, and this EP features six numbers from a March 1984 rehearsal tape, only a few months before the band's final collapse. While this edition of Negative Approach seems capable of a bit more rhythmic sophistication than the classic lineup, this is just the sort of raw, bludgeoning HC attack that made NA famous, though Brannon's vocals were evolving from the declamatory clarity of the first NA recordings to the more feral style he'd embrace in the Laughing Hyenas. The quality of the audio is nothing to write home about, but while two of the unrecorded originals on this EP, "Genocide" and "Kiss Me Kill Me," appear in live takes on the collection Total Recall, the versions here have them beat for clarity and force, and "Obsession" and the title track would have been worthy additions to NA's set list in their glory days. And while the version of the Stooges' "I Got a Right" may not be Brannon's best tribute to one of his most obvious role models, it's the rare example of a Stooges cover that matches the original for sheer manic power. Friends of No One is no lost masterpiece, but these 11 minutes kick pretty hard and show that Brannon never let his band get lazy, even right up to the bitter end.

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