All Roads Lead to Ausfahrt

BY Vish KhannaPublished Sep 1, 2006

Twenty-five years after first forming, Victoria’s NOmeansno remain awe-inspiring punks with compellingly bizarre new songs to sing. "Wake Up” is a hilarious pulveriser while "In Her Eyes” captures the dark romanticism the band are seldom given credit for. "Mr. In Between” is another irritating composite role in the cast of characters that John and Rob Wright have employed over the years to vent their frustration at the human lot. "I See a Mansion in the Sky” and "Ashes” contain apocalyptic soundtracks to match the doomsday voice and words of Rob Wright. As usual, the darkness and grief on a NOmeansno record is matched line for line and note for note by the band’s absurdist bent. "So Low” is a ridiculous dose of menacing pop and the infectious sing-a-long chorus of "’Til I Die” belies its melancholy perspective on the end of all things. Tom Holliston’s jarring guitar on "The Hawk Killed the Punk” gives way to "I’m Dreaming and I Can’t Wake Up,” a paranoid storm of a song. Really, the Hanson Brothers-oriented pop punk moments, such as the giddily ominous "Slugs Are Burning,” are the real surprises here, suggesting that NOmeansno have an endless musical arsenal to fuck with yet.

The last album One came out in 2000. Why the delay? John Wright: Well, it certainly wasn’t a deliberate act. In fact, when we decided to make this record, we were like ‘Whoa, it’s been six years since the last one! What have we been doing?!’ It’s not as though we haven’t been terribly busy; the notorious Hanson Brothers did an album and a bunch of touring and we ended up doing 100 shows behind our best-of album [2004’s People’s Choice] too.

Where is Ausfahrt? For those unfamiliar with the German language, "Ausfahrt” means exit. You see these signs on the German highway and you begin to think, "Geez, it seems like everywhere we go, we can get to Ausfahrt.” And the Germans like to tease people and say, "Yes. It is the biggest city in Germany.”

Parts of this record sounds like NMN and the Hanson Brothers colliding. Yes, I think they have in certain songs for sure. We didn’t deliberately want to put out a "pop” record, so to speak, but didn’t want to put out three 15-minute songs either. We wanted to write shorter songs that weren’t so deep and dark — but I still think the record is rather odd.

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