Too Many Humans/Teen Love

No Trend

(CD - Drag City #DC 754)

Review by Mark Deming

In the beginning, punk rock was meant to be an open challenge to bland arena rock and made-to-order pop music that never sought to challenge its audience. By the time punk hard evolved into hardcore in the early '80s, a remarkably large amount of the bands and their audiences had fallen into a strict template of monochromatic sounds and appearance, predictable even when the music was energetic and exciting. No Trend were a band who made it their duty to be the contrarians on the hardcore scene, saying no to the faster/louder/shorter formula in favor of lumbering, post-melodic cacophony laden with shards of guitar noise, peals of feedback, throbbing bass pulse, scattershot drumming, and the bilious vocals of Jeff Mentges, whose feral shouting poured out contempt like a hose pumping tear gas. Lots of hardcore bands liked to sing about scene unity; No Trend, true to their vision, had a song called "Kiss Ass to Your Peer Group" that is significantly more vicious than that title would suggest. Musically, No Trend's closest peers were Flipper and early Public Image Ltd., but the raw ferocity of their onslaught made even those bands seem relatively polite. (And, of course, once No Trend actually developed a following for their punishing music, they dialed down the noise, tightened their chops, added keyboards and horns, and made angular sounds that were all the more puzzling for their smoother surfaces on 1986's Tritonian Nash-Vegas Polyester Complex.) No Trend were at their purest and most confrontational on their debut LP, 1983's Too Many Humans, and the follow-up EP, 1984's Teen Love (the latter's title song being some sort of masterpiece as the band jams on a simple, skeletal melody while the lyrics dispassionately chart the rise and fall of a high school romance from the clinical view of a sociologist).

With Too Many Humans/Teen Love, Drag City Records have reissued those records in a single package, beefed up with the inclusion of demos, outtakes, and two live sets recorded in 1983 that are even more abrasive as No Trend confront the objects of their derision face to face. To say this music is not for everyone is a profound understatement; if ever there was a band determined to leave their audience wanting less, it was No Trend. That said, in an era when lots of artists enjoyed play-acting at misanthropy, No Trend dove into it headfirst, without a smirk, and with the vision and sense of purpose to leave a trail of purifying destruction in their wake. Nearly four decades after this music was recorded, Too Many Humans/Teen Love sounds just as pestilent as the day it was recorded, and if you have the strength, this is the definitive document of No Trend's golden era as master noise terrorists.

Track Listing - Disc 4

Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 No Trend 03:16 SpotifyAmazon
2 No Trend 05:01 SpotifyAmazon
3 No Trend 04:00 SpotifyAmazon
4 No Trend 03:46 SpotifyAmazon
5 No Trend 01:43 SpotifyAmazon
6 No Trend 01:06 SpotifyAmazon
7 No Trend 03:57 SpotifyAmazon
8 No Trend 02:29 SpotifyAmazon
9 No Trend 04:20 SpotifyAmazon
10 No Trend 07:03 SpotifyAmazon
11 No Trend 02:40 SpotifyAmazon
12 No Trend 02:24 SpotifyAmazon
No Trend 02:25 SpotifyAmazon
14 No Trend 07:38 SpotifyAmazon
15 No Trend 04:46 SpotifyAmazon

Track Listing - Disc 5

Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 No Trend 02:59 SpotifyAmazon
2 No Trend 03:02 SpotifyAmazon
3 No Trend 06:35 SpotifyAmazon
4 No Trend 02:07 SpotifyAmazon
5 No Trend 04:01 SpotifyAmazon
6 No Trend 04:34 SpotifyAmazon
7 No Trend 04:46 SpotifyAmazon
8 No Trend 02:57 SpotifyAmazon
9 No Trend 03:02 SpotifyAmazon
10 No Trend 00:49 SpotifyAmazon
11 No Trend 01:08 SpotifyAmazon
12 No Trend 02:23 SpotifyAmazon
13 No Trend 02:08 SpotifyAmazon
14 No Trend 04:09 SpotifyAmazon
15 No Trend 02:17 SpotifyAmazon
16 No Trend 02:40 SpotifyAmazon
17 No Trend 02:05 SpotifyAmazon
18 No Trend 03:13 SpotifyAmazon
19 No Trend 01:38 SpotifyAmazon
20 No Trend 01:10 SpotifyAmazon
21 No Trend 01:06 SpotifyAmazon
22 No Trend 02:05 SpotifyAmazon
23 No Trend 02:19 SpotifyAmazon
24 No Trend 02:39 SpotifyAmazon
25 No Trend 03:19 SpotifyAmazon
26 No Trend 02:51 SpotifyAmazon
27 No Trend 04:14 SpotifyAmazon
28 No Trend 02:41 SpotifyAmazon
blue highlight denotes track pick