Wreck and Reference forged a unique sound on last years Black Cassette, a release that deconstructed the expectations of electronic music and infused the noise-heavy palette with touches of doom progression and an aura of distress. The processed beats of Black Cassette weave into No Youth, coiling and swirling around new ideas and forms and falling on those familiar electronic flourishes. Wreck and Reference push the boundaries of genre definition even further with this record, incorporating varying vocal approaches, abstract language and an ever-present level of intense despondency.
Dealing with opposing forces, No Youth bursts with energy and languid textures almost simultaneously. Spoken words pieces interact with the countering noises beneath them. “Stage Collapse” and “Edifice of Silt” are gently articulated missives sitting over flares of programmed drum lines, the words seeping into the cracks left by the sadness ravaged “Nausea,” the black metal howls of “The Solstitial,” or “Cannot” and it’s deft fusion of two styles.
Beginning on the curiously unsettling “Spectrum,” No Youth immediately sets out a disconcerting tone. The glorious melancholy of the electronic beat is disturbed by screeches more often found in furious black metal. Wreck and Reference are branching out into new territory here and the change is disarmingly scintillating. The mechanized vocals of “Inverted Soul” and “Winter” carry a knowledge wrought in despair whilst stuttering hammers of noise pervade the atmosphere, drenching all with a rumbling bass-heavy build to the inevitable climax. No Youth is a more sophisticated affair than Black Cassette with its differing structures and powerful nuances. Complex hypotheses flow throughout and this California based duo scatter their introspection via fluttering drums and regret filled loops.
Mixed and mastered by Colin Marston (Krallice, Behold…The Arctopus, Dysrhythmia, Gorguts, and also one of the hardest working producers in metal), No Youth sounds divine. Each aspect is given room enough to breathe – the vocals are pure even when being screamed and the spoken portions drip with a hidden venom, none more so than on final track “Edifice of Silt.” Deep and mysterious, the words are slyly put forth over a cycling rhythm of dark and ambient noise. It’s ominous but what are Wreck and Reference if not a little unearthly and strange? It’s this unorthodox approach that gives the band their appeal. No Youth is an unconventional composition. Wreck and Reference have no rules.
Go right ahead and download No Youth from the Wreck and Reference bandcamp page. Check out Black Cassette if you haven’t already. Pay nothing…pay something…pay attention.