In The EndRed Scare Industries
By Cole Faulkner
When Nothington’s debut full length, All In, dropped back in 2007, it was eye opening for me. I had just started reviewing music for the punk scene I idolized as a kid, and at the time I was freelancing via a primitive DIY Blogspot account. I never reviewed All In for my blog, mostly because I just couldn’t articulate how much it meant to me. In retrospect, Nothington’s hold on me stemmed from their ability to so lucidly straddle the line between punk-rock and pop-punk. Featuring gruff, gravelly vocals and easily hummed anthems, Nothington have always been easy to get into, and just as easy to fall in love with.
A decade later and a number of years after breaking hiatus, the band returns with In The End. Clocking in at just over the half-hour mark, the band serves up an easy reminder as to why so many of us have been so eagerly anticipating Nothington’s return. A decade may have passed since my introduction, but Nothington continue to reflect the late 00’s punk scene from which they emerged – and that is a very good thing. In The End maintains stylistic continuity with early-career heavyweights like Against Me!, Off With Their Heads, and Lawrence Arms, along with supporting acts such as Banner Pilot, Dear Landlord, American Steel, Get Dead, Cobra Skulls, Dillinger Four, and so many more that have come to dominate the many iterations of annual Gainsville punk music festival, THE FEST.
Even after taking a break, Jay Northington and Chris Matulich continue to feed off of one another’s knack for writing and performing gritty, mid-tempo anthems. All it takes is a couple of minutes with opener “Already There” to grasp the synergy flowing through Nothington. Jay’s low, gravelly vocals crunch along against a steady, drum-fed rhythm, making way for Chris’ voice to slip in naturally and offer a salvo of vocal support at the onset of the chorus. A little more punk-rock than pop-punk, the track sets a strong precedent for those that follow. Tracks like “End Transmission” and “The Lies I Need” stoke the fire with similarly sized choruses and rapid tempos, while tracks like “Burn After Reading” capitalize upon their lighter delivery to convey personal contemplations. The interplay between vocalists is subtle but commanding, similar but less polarizing than that of fellow peers The Lawrence Arms.
Really though, Nothington offers so many reasons to embrace In The End. “Nothing But Beaches” straddles the middle ground with sweeping, anthem-driven gang-vocal choruses punctuated by forcefully landing riffs, making for a deserving album centerpiece. Such moments come balanced by the quick-tempoed, melodic punk-rock running through “The Hard Way,” which feels loosely haunted by the faded spectres of mid-90’s EpiFat bands.
I could go on about all the reasons to love In The End, but they should be self evident by now. With In The End, Nothington offers a firm reminder about why their return is so noteworthy. Fans will undoubtedly embrace the instant throwback, while newcomers stand to add a whole new set of new songs to their favourite playlists. All in all, In The End is one heck of a comeback. ‘Nuff said.