’90s punk in a new era
Even though the band is around for quite some time, They Birds marks the first full-length album by Chicago-based Nonagon. The trio is comprised of Tony Aimone, Robert Wm. Gomez and John Hastie. On their website, the band lists that they often get compared to bands like Fugazi, Jawbox, The Jesus Lizard, etc. Now with their newest record, the band can once again prove that waiting for over a decade for a full-length album was worth it, and the comparisons are justified.
The influences of previously named bands are definitely there. The overall sound of the album is dark, grungy and inspired by ’90s punk. Destructive and gloomy, with innovative sounds. “The Family Meal” is the perfect example of that. The music is dark and catastrophic, full of gloom and suppressed anger. The instruments at points are out of order. They feel like they have a dark temper of their own. The lyrics, which are screamed in various parts of the song, complete the dark atmosphere of the song.
The following track, “Hack,” follows the dark path of the previous song, while with “Salt,” the intriguing bass intro feels a little lighter. The song continues with the angry punk sound but is less on the depressing side, even though the lyrics definitely are. With “Swing Goat,” the listener gets another one of these interesting intros. The bass and guitar combo is what makes this song so hypnotizing. It’s not particularly hard to feel this song in one’s bones and muscles. It is one of those songs that just captures the audience with minimal effort.
From the first track, “Tuck the Long Tail Under,” to the very last note of the last song, “Bells,” it is clear that Nonagon is not like other current punk bands. They channel the typical angry alternative sound of the ’90s so well in They Birds. Some might feel like putting on their flannel shirt and ripped mom jeans (which, of course, is a trend now anyway). While ’90s alternative clothing might be in trend now, many younger generations are not necessarily familiar with a lot of ’90s alternative music, so Nonagon might just be able to change that and reach a new generation of punk fans, even after a decade of existents and now a full-length album.