A current cluster of bands including The No Marks (from Cardiff), Chestnut Road (from Toulouse), and Hyalin (both, it seems) feature members of an earlier cluster of bands Blocko, Crocodile God, and The Down-and-Outs who shared the stage and continue to carry torches for an influential cluster of melodic punk bands like Broccoli, Leatherface, Bivouac, Beezewax, Snuff, Lemonheads, Osker, Jawbreaker, and Husker Du.

Light of One is the first full-length from The No Marks. Two singers, both named Mark. Fourteen songs in thirty minutes. And though this isn’t hardcore you come out the other side of this album feeling beat-up in a good way. There isn’t a lag in intensity to be found. My favorite moment so far is swift assault of “Not Working,” which pummels through one brief verse and one chorus before bruising into a sampled human interest story about a jobless town, then returning to the guitars and angrily speeding away over the bridge. In and out of that complex song in two minutes. I also love “Dolly Mixtures and Dirty Jokes,” which sounds like a Scott Reynolds ALL song with gruffer vocals and packs a mighty (if obvious) sing-a-long of

Don’t need your lipstick rock and roll,

You’ll get a fistfull of punk and soul from me…

A shot of whiskey, a pack of smokes,

Dolly mixtures and dirty jokes. Yeah take it from me.

A lyric that hits me harder is an odd one from “Gregory Vignal” that goes “Semolina trees and the cats are jumping around.” I’m not sure about how that image fits into the song, but it’s a cool dose of specificity. “Curiosity Killed the Moment” brings in some keys briefly in the opening riff and I really wish they stayed there because they’re a welcome new tone by mid-album. The rest of the song does feature some badass isolated drums, though.

That’s what you’re getting with Light of One–truly passionate melodic punk that shifts up vocalists well, that drives its drums (played by a near-Mark, Marc) at full-force almost always, and saturates with sweet sweet guitar hooks (played in-part by the only non-Mark, Andy). All of the No Marks’ parts are catchy, not just the choruses. I encourage anybody reading Ninebullets (and especially anybody who’s been enjoying RSV’s old mixtapes recently) to give this album a shot, not just the more punk-inclined among us. This is standout rock for the weird and mid-paced masses.

03 Not Working

06 Dolly Mixtures and Dirty Jokes

08 Curiosity Killed the Moment

Light of One comes out September 30 on Brassneck Records. Grab the digital from Brassneck’s bandcamp; pre-order the vinyl from Brassneck’s store (UK). Look for upcoming vinyl distro in America from Swamp Cabbage Records and Eccentric Pop Records; CDs from Japanese label Waterslide Records. Follow the band on Facebook.

Author: Mike Ostrov

Mike Ostrov relays the history of popular song on message boards and under rocks.