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Still angry, still fun

All Roads Lead to Ausfahrt
All Roads Lead to Ausfahrt
By NoMeansNo

AntAcidAudio: 2006

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This review first appeared in Turbula in November 2006.

NoMeansNo is one of those bands that it's hard to imagine is still going 20 years later. Like the Dead Kennedys or the Butthole Surfers, NoMeansNo was purely a product of the '80s.

No less angry than those two über punk bands, NoMeansNo is not only more exerimental in its arrangements and playing than most punk bands, but has always had a strong emphasis on its Zappaesque sense of self-conscious irony in its lyrics.

The band's 10th album not only finds the trio still together, but finds it continuing to indulge its love of odd time signatures, strange harmonies and just plain weird chord changes. But at the same time, there are streaks of the Ramones' melodicism ("In Her Eyes") and even mainstream power pop ("Ashes," "So Low") throughout.

The band's lyrics continue their sly take on modern life, delivered within a structure of clever and fun wordplay. Heck, even the song titles capture this slightly off-kilter poetry: "Heaven is the Dust Beneath My Shoes," "The Hawk Killed the Punk," "Slugs Are Burning."

If it's tough to describe the music of NoMeansNo, and impossible to categorize it, appreciating it is, fortunately, only too easy.