The Noname 'That Is What We Believe'
The Noname 'That Is What We Believe'

The Noname ”˜That Is What We Believe’ (Kids Union Records)
CD ”“ (via Razor Blade Music)
Available now

In mid July 2011 I reported that the film documentary ”˜Beijing Punk’ was to be shown at The Rebellion Festival; as a result of that I was contacted by Gao’ the head honcho of Xian (China) based Kids Union Records who had just released ”˜That Is What We Believe” by all Chinese punk band The Noname, who had managed to play a few dates in Europe back in 2008.

If ever evidence was need that ably demonstrated that punk rock is both alive and well and is a worldwide phenomenon, then The Noname are Exhibit 1.

”˜That Is What We Believe’ is the bands second full length release, and has been made available in Europe via Razor Blade Music (Germany) ”“ what we get is full on adrenaline fuelled 77′ punk mixed with more aggressive street punk; screeched English vocals, sing-a-long choruses but underpinned by decent melodies ”“ think The Ramones slightly sped up and add harsh Casualties style vocals, they also clearly draw influence from the more well known ”˜second wave’ of UK punk bands ”“ The Exploited, GBH etc who have clearly defined the song structures, and drum patterns.

With an intro played by ”˜The Orchestra of Xian’ before a burst of feedback introduces ”˜Next To You’ a love song of sorts, hundred miles per hour drumming, with a quasi military breakdown and snarled vocals. ”˜Real Punk Noise’ arrives with a semi classical intro before a rising bass then drum come to dominate, building to one of those shout-along choruses in which all the band yell the same couple of lines ”“ does what its title suggests!

Gao’s vocals perfectly reflect the bands attitude and lyrics. ”˜Redland Army’ and ”˜Dragon Spirit’ ”“ the later being a declaration to the world that The Noname are sincere.

He wisely avoids clean vocals and rages throughout the album. The few times he diverts from this, particularly during ”˜My Attitude’, ”˜Grow Up’, and ”˜Kids Union’ his heavy Chinese accent is more noticeable as he struggles to fully form the English words ”“ ”˜Grow Up’ provides the only relief from the onslaught being an acoustic guitar and mouth organ composition, with whistling ”“ not enough whistling in music these days!

”˜Kids Union’ is easily the most accessible track, a true street anthem, terrace chanting, raining drums – anthemetic hardcore, gleefully raucous; sounds not dissimilar to The Dead Pets version of the Cock Sparrer classic ”˜We’re Coming Back’

None of this is highly original and it’s not an album of great depth or variety ”“ but then don’t forget that until just a few years ago China was an entirely closed country, so access to outside musical influences would have been extremely limited; only the biggest names would have been heard of; the aforementioned Cock Sparrer, The Exploited, so their influence is understandable.
However it’s solid ”“ packed with energetic power chords, huge backing vocals; the songs are well written, even the most ferocious have proper song structure which allows them to be played at pace as opposed to resorting to a wall of noise – it’s a throw back maybe to the initial days of snotty street punk without succumbing to the modern trend for extremism.

Certainly worth further investigation…

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Phil Newall is 47, from The Wirral - he earns his living not writing about music nor playing music...though sorely wishes he could. He was fortunate enough to see many of the first generation punk bands when they played the U18's matinee shows at Eric's, Liverpool. As an attendee at Eric's he was exposed to punk rock, dub reggae, art rock, and all manner of weirdness; as a customer at Probe Records he was variously served and scowled at by Pete Wylie and Pete Burns - he has written for Record Collector, Whisperin & Hollerin, and Spiral Scratch and wanted to write a book detailing the Liverpool punk scene; however with 'Head-On' Julian Cope beat him to it...and frankly did a much better job.

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