Canadian brothers Rob and John Wright have pumped out gobs of releases over the last 16 years, using the names The Hanson Brothers (named for the simple-minded violence gurus in the movie Slap Shot) and NoMeansNo. While The Hanson Brothers has served as the outlet for the Wrights' goofier material, NoMeansNo has articulated their pointed socio-political impulses. The latter band's latest EP, Would We Be Alive?, does not showcase NoMeansNo at its strongest, but does at least deserve recognition for the inspired material from which it draws. "Would We Be Alive?" is a rocked-up cover of a Residents song from that band's Intermission EP: While the original was a jaw-clenchingly tense dirge played at a shuffling gait with Casio-style percussion, the heavy, repetitive drumming of this version turns it into a tooth-rattling march into self-destruction. The last song is a longer version of NoMeansNo's own bass-heavy track from the album Wrong, "Big Dick." The new approach isn't quite as ferocious, but it's still raucous. The other two tracks are mediocre songs that, while they make fine filler, wouldn't stand up on their own. Still, it's been two years since NoMeansNo's last release, and Would We Be Alive? does whet the appetite for a new full-length, due next year.

Advertisement