NØ MAN : Glitter and Spit

NØ MAN Glitter and Spit review

It’s probably necessary to mention NØ MAN’s roots as a frame of reference. They rose from the ashes of the 2017 reunion of Majority Rule, a screamo band whose brief discography includes a split with pageninetynine, Document #12, and two LPs. Majority Rule’s tenure lasted from the late ’90s until 2004. Before they broke up, they recruited Maha Shami to perform guest vocals on “Packaged Poison” on Document #12, planting the seeds for her to become the first-round draft pick to front NØ MAN upon their formation in 2018. “Probably” is doing the heaving lifting in the statement “probably necessary” because NØ MAN  and Majority Rule are not the same despite containing nearly identical rosters. NØ MAN has already been around for nearly as long as Majority Rule lasted and they’ve already released more full-length works than Majority Rule. Their latest album, Glitter and Spit, solidifies their identity, and though I haven’t done so, it’s entirely possible to speak about it without mentioning Majority Rule because it is that damn good. 

Shami is largely responsible for the album’s quality and NØ MAN’s distinction from Majority Rule. Her delivery is harsh, addictive, and versatile, spinning choruses and spoken word as easily as she presides over a pit. The clarity with which she speaks, the portion of the mix she dominates, and her melodic scream all portray her as Glitter and Spit’s highlight, which is not a diss at the remaining members. They’re clearly aware of her prowess. Look at the way they open the record, setting the scene and awaiting her arrival on “Eat My Twin.” They only reveal their twisted guitar lines and crowd-gathering drums once Shami announces that she’s in her own head. 

That’s merely one example of her growth as a vocalist. Looking back to “SHOTS FIRED” from 2020’s ERASE reveals Shami has sharpened her approach while adding some safety measures. On that track, you can hear the strain she places on her throat. She’s shredding it and, for as delightful and heartfelt as it is, it’s just as damaging to her vocal cords. Conversely, nearly all of Glitter and Spit’s vocals come from her stomach, a minor but integral alteration. Shami is still an extreme vocalist but she’s tuneful, which ultimately reduces the hurdle to enjoying Glitter and Spit upon first listen. 

Furthermore, Shami’s tongue is as sharp as her vocals. Her memorable one-liners come through as clear as day. Two stand-outs include the album’s opening lines (“I’m in my head, I’ve split myself in two/ From the womb eat my twin suck on fetal tissue,” draws a visceral reaction that can’t be unfelt) and “Can’t Kill Us All”: “Scratch their back and they’ll hatch wars.” This line in particular leads to an integral component about Glitter and Spit—its place in the midst of the ongoing genocide in Gaza. 

Though written and recorded before the Hamas attack and Israeli invasion this past October, the album feels reactive to the conflict because Shami is the daughter of Palestinian refugees. She visited Palestine not long before the war broke out, providing Glitter and Spit a palpable reason to be as pissed off as it is. Not every track discusses her grapplings with the crisis but they’re all powered by it. It bleeds over into how Shami takes down other subjects, which aren’t always groundbreaking but are phrased well enough and put into such specific terms that they’re worthwhile. Her desire to disconnect from modern dopamine and serotonin overload isn’t novel, but that doesn’t betray her certainty when she cries, “I wanna live in one dimension” on “Monument to Pleasure.”

The rest of NØ MAN are no slouches in the face of Shami’s charisma. The band members who formerly comprised Majority Rule have adopted a more aggressive and confident style compared to the sinewy chaos they played on Document #12 (the style is closer to hardcore than screamo if you are the type of person to tell your grandmother that you’re in the mood for oatmeal, not porridge). They reflect this through a pristine sense of balance; between themselves and Shami, between fury and palatability, between immediacy and patience. It’s best felt with how easily one can drop in and understand their intention, regardless of whether it’s the rough tuning up sounds that commence “Poison Darts,” or the foreboding bass-gurgling of “March of Ides.” 

The musical aspect of NØ MAN is clearly well-practiced and honed. Even if there’s no point in comparing them to Majority Rule, what’s worth bringing up is that the members got their experimental tendencies out of their system back then, and now know exactly how to lock in. To call it surgical would rob them of their finger on the human pulse, but it speaks to their precision. Glitter and Spit isn’t technical but it’s considered, which is the unspoken sign of experience and expertise. The fact that this came from a group of musicians whose main efforts came two decades ago makes sense, but Glitter and Spit doesn’t simply make sense. NØ MAN posses the vigor of youth and the wisdom of maturity, a balance that’s much more difficult to maintain than it may seem.

Label: Iodine

Year: 2024

Similar Albums:

View Comments (0)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Scroll To Top