I remember when Art Brut got relatively popular a few years back and I was immediately drawn to the off kilter humorous punk that seems to be all too vacant within the mainstream. The Non-Nonconformists, which is really just one guy named Alexander Peat contains a similar style that feels loose, fun and unpretentious (except on two tracks).
Peat’s British accent works but I can’t help but think he might want to expand on his lyrics. He repeats the same lyric throughout a song, which was honestly kind of baffling. Having sparse lyrics is fine but after hearing the same lyric repeated forty times with very little variation in dynamics or delivery I was not only getting perturbed but also felt like I was spacing out. The one liner was basically a cute gimmick that was fine for the about two tracks but after fourteen songs my patience were certainly being tested.
Some of his songs work better than others. He has success with “I’m Stagnating Babe.” He never deviates from the lyric “I’m Stagnating Babe” but at least the song changes quite a bit, which kept things moving. “What if I Can’t” is mind numbing but the music is pretty fun. I couldn't tell if the desperation on “Me and My Fuck Up My Life Tic” was Peat trying to be funny or serious. I personally felt it was kind of funny.
Peat must say “Shit” about a hundred times on “This is the Shit.” The word loses all meaning by the time the song ends. He keeps saying “This is the Shit” but never says what “this” is. Is it a situation, some girl he’s into or his new hairstyle? It was driving me crazy.
There are two tracks on this album where I thought Peat was straight up screwing with me. The first track being, ”There Is No Such Thing in Life As No More” in which he repeats the phrase over and over with no music. It’s spoken, not sung, and felt artsy and self-indulgent. The same goes for “There’s Nothing You Can Do About It Now,” which is basically a descent into madness. He relapses and layers that same phrase until it drives you crazy.
Peat has some talent when it comes to music but I really hope he drops the one-line gimmick. It’s a novelty that wears thin fast. I liked this release but it could have been better if Peat stuck to more traditional song structure.
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