[Album Review] No Museums- The Malcontents
Reader Rating: (1 Vote)

Release Date: April 1st, 2015
Label: Independent

So we know that No Museums used to be called Twin Library and we know they are from Edmonton, but who in the f*%k are they? Or is it just one guy (my personal strong suspicion)? No one seems to know. Oh well, I guess all that really matters is the fact that they’ve put out several albums of great music, and their latest, ‘The Malcontents’, is probably their best yet.

Lyrically, they’ve always had a dark slant but now they have gotten downright grim (consider “The Country Block” where we are placed inside the mind of a coldblooded killer). However, unlike fellow Albertan Chad Vangaalen, their music never really sounds that grim on the surface – in fact, it can even be upbeat. Although they occasionally sound like early REM (“Land on the Return”) and even Nirvana (“This Is a Freight Train”) No Museums have reached the point where they really resemble no one, producing as they do a sound that is both contemporary and timeless.

Previously, No Museums/Twin Library have been more direct with their sound, being at times more up-tempo, jangler or noisier. Now the music is primarily more low-key indie-type guitar, but this just brings their message out in greater relief, due to the fact that the other instrumentation, no matter how subtle it is, stands out in greater contrast. This is particularly true of the near-metal guitar that bursts on the scene here and there, setting your nerves on edge. But, oh, what a deliciously dark edge it is.

The opening track itself is a good example of what I’m getting at. “The Burnt Heart Decay” starts out with the warm sounds of strummed acoustic and tremolo guitars and gentle, folksy vocals. But then at the midpoint of the song a distorted guitar cuts in like a mini buzz saw. It’s startling, but it wakes you out your reverie and makes you realize just what’s being sung. “Blazed in red, I’m rusting blood …. The burnt heart decay”.

Even if poetically dark musings aren’t your cup of tea, ‘The Malcontents’ is a compelling listen regardless, thanks to the band’s deft touch in taking solid indie rock rhythms and embellishing them with subtle (and not so subtle) additions of leopards or guitars. However, if you can also appreciate the lyrical depth of the writing then you’ll gain another dimension of appreciation for the overall package being offered.