Autistic Youth

Nonage

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On their third full-length Nonage, Portland's Autistic Youth further streamline the brand of classic 80's-inspired punk they've been steadily hammering out since their 2006 debut. Since their inception, the band has drawn comparisons to west coast trail blazers like the Adolescents and the Wipers which are not unfounded. There is plenty of the hard-driving punk of the former and some of the cool darkness of the latter, but on Nonage, there are also elements of modern pop-punk and '80s hardcore. The band's frequently employed all-for-one approach to vocals harkens back to hardcore's heyday, but after ten years of recording and touring together, Autistic Youth have sheared off some of the rougher D.I.Y. edges to present an extremely tight and well-made record. With its shouted verses and rousing, melodic chorus, the opener "Not for Me" is a top-notch, top-volume punk classic. Throughout the album, they manage to tread the line between classic, get-in-the-van anthems reminiscent of early Social Distortion and a more mature song-based approach as on the stand-out track "Couriers of Kings," with its off-kilter, mournful chorus and strong backing vocals. It's a sound they began to explore on their 2010 release Idle Minds, but is employed to greater effect here on Nonage. While there is plenty of aggressive hardcore pounding and straight-up riffage, there are some well-placed, tuneful guitar leads and solos peppered across the album. The harmony riffs on "Stones" almost recall vintage metal and some of the more angular chord voicings fall squarely into the post-punk vein. Nonage is as angry and loud as anything in the band's career, but with a decade of music under their belts, Autistic Youth have developed some welcome subtlety and sharpened their game.

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