Album Review: Djork by NOPES (Magnetic Eye)

On their third album, these self-proclaimed “weirdo punks” from Oakland, unleash a torrent of off-kilter, discordant riffs, drenched in feedback and bolstered by a slamming rhythm section, that rarely plays in normal time signatures. In addition, the band finds the time throw in the odd shredding guitar solo from time to time. It’s all seasoned with a snotty attitude that gives their missives extra flavor. You may have heard strains of this kind of music in bands like Hot Snakes, the Blood Brothers and when the band stretches it out, even the Jesus Lizard, but, let me just say the Nopes do their own thing with these mutant sounds, creating something wholly original from their influences. 

Djork is one ripping, rocking affair, one that will make you grin like an idiot while it caves your head in. 

It opens with the one-two punch of “Pocket Square Motherfucker” and “Smile Room” which are both under two-minute blasts of vicious, mind-warping punk rock that rocks. From there, they stretch out a bit with the lurching, menacing grooves of “Under The Leather”, where they mine a mid-paced noise-punk sound. 

In fact, they manage to balance these two sides of personality to great effect on this album. You get more under two minute bangers, such as “Lithium Hop”, “No Doze” and “Hihg”, balanced out with the more mid-paced grind of songs such as “Make A Long Gory Wort”, “Drink The Cat” and “Son Of Sam’s Club” (my favorite song title on the album). But no more whether they’re going 100 mph or slowing it down slightly, they always keep it tight, catchy and memorable. 

On the closing track, “Synonym For Defeat”, they take everything they’ve done over the course of the album and put it together in one eight-minute slab, of some of the noisiest, sludgiest punk you’re likely to find anywhere. The song takes many twists and turns, and the band keeps you engaged with their urgent playing and deft song craft. This is one epic way to close out an album.

Djork is one noisy, nasty and off kilter shot of punk rock awesomeness. On this album, the Nopes have come into their crafting an album that burns from start to finish. In a world, of paint-by-the-numbers punk and outright copycats, they are true originals, who play some of the most exciting punk music you’re likely to hear. So please track this one down, because you will be glad that you did. 

Highly recommended. 

Djork was released January 29th, 2021 via Magnetic Eye Records. Stream and download here.

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