November 20, 2016

LP: NOTS - Cosmetic

Enter the punk rock spaceship that's NOTS' Cosmetic.

Memphis punk trio NOTS explores bursting emotions as they meditate on desire, deceit, and consumption on their sophomore full-length Cosmetic. NOTS' smart, tough agenda is evident all over this nine-track record. They combine the classic post-punk sound with the intellectual edge of bands like X-Ray Spex. Inspired by the absurdity of this year's presidential election, vocalist and guitarist Natalie Hoffman focuses her energy into an album of unapologetic and gut-punching music. “Entertain Me” pulses forward with fast-paced drumming and searing, splintering guitars knotted with an expressive attitude. Her lyrics are raw, candid and very direct, like when she sings, “Entertain me tell, me what to see / Entertain me, tell me who to be.”

Throughout Cosmetic, Hoffman waxes lyrical disdain toward the terrifying political climate in America and critiques the ways in which media capitalizes on consumption. Reverb-drenched guitars throw familiar fists of punk disapproval on “No Novelty” as fast-paced drums mimic the adrenaline rush of crashing into a mosh pit. NOTS’ sound has become more expansive on this record, as they combine gut-punching melodies and keys that leave a looming presence, hovering over each track like a ghostly shadow. Listening to Cosmetic feels like taking off on a punk rock spaceship, high above everything else surrounded by nothing but spacey synths, stars, and the steady pound of drums. “Inherently Low” trudges along with a propulsive force, as Hoffman tackles a struggle with depression. The track's riffs are expressive and ringing, venturing through doses of intense urgency. Rather than cast their hardships and fears aside, NOTS tackle discomfort head on and places it into nine whirring tracks.


Listen to NOTS on bandcamp.

Abbie Jones, who will sing along to every Liz Phair song at karaoke by heart and is always down to get milkshakes past midnight. When she isn't writing about music, she is playing drums in her band or hosting shows in her backyard.