The hardcore scene is full of belligerent dude crews making fast, heavy, metallic hardcore. But from Double Negative to Whatever Brains and, now, No Love, Raleigh has also offered plenty of counterpoints to the orthodoxy. No Love's 2013 debut delivered a shock of irreverent, peppy pop-punk crafted by veteran members of Devour, Logic Problem and Last Words. It felt like playful subversion from within the ranks.
On No Love's sharp second release, the four-song Tape #2, the quintet maintains the snotty energy and hooks while further complicating its approach. Opener "Professor's Son" flashes back to LA proto-hardcore greats The Avengers before upsetting the momentum with a prickly post-punk counter-riff. "S.C.A.B.," which received an unexpected NPR nod, subverts the expected "All Cops Are Bastards" slogan. "Some cops are bastards," Elizabeth Lynch offers against a pogo-friendly backdrop. "Some cops are sweet."
The band's humor and hooks have always been a thrilling rejoinder amid Raleigh's aggressive, fertile punk lot. But No Love stands out even without the benefit of contrast here: Tape #2 is as accomplished as it is addictive, worthy of attention well beyond the small but supportive scene that birthed it.
Label: Sorry State Records
This article appeared in print with the headline "On hardcore pranksters, hip-hop revivals and more."