NO :: "In Another Life"

The next big band to come out of Los Angeles could easily be NO. Cutting somewhere between the grandiosity of group vocals and the baritone gravel of a lead singer that eerily evokes Berninger's National, the band crafts the same kind of burnished melodies end up as well-worn, memorized hooks. "In Another Life", one of six excellent songs on the band's debut EP, builds its house out of a crystalline guitar and one of those authoritarian bass lines that has three notes and each one hits you in the chest. The second movement opens wide with chanting vocals and horns - a flashback to the last 30 seconds of "Fake Empire" - and a finishing kick that turns the title lyric into a statement of purpose and profound failure. The aesthetics revive the energy of the National in 2005 with some of the critical refinements and depth that both the original and its imitators (here think: Pela come We Are Augustines) added in the intervening years. NO plays SXSW this week and returns to LA for a free Monday show at the Echo. They are simply the most promising independent rock band this writer has heard in at least a calendar year, poised to do some absolute damage in the coming one.

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