Nots’ 3 is out May 10 on Goner Records. The album is their third full-length, but the title could also refer to the fact that they are newly a trio again.
Without keyboardist Alexandra Eastburn, the sound isn’t as full as what they had curated on 2016’s Cosmetic. However, losing her does not prove to be a destructive blow to the band. They are down to the lineup they had at the time of their 2013 noisey garage punk debut EP, but the sound has come a long way.
The first two tracks and the final track on 3 give us an idea of what Nots can do when left entirely synth-less. They play bass-heavy post-punk territory that they navigate well through feedback, led by sharp, pitch-bending, and modulating guitar frequencies.
Nots would not be lost if they stayed synth-less, but the third track, “Floating Hand,” introduces vocalist and guitarist Natalie Hoffman on the keyboard, which she then commands throughout the album while sticking to her signature, punky, sing-scream wail. She dons the guitar again as a primary instrument only on “Persona,” “Surveillance Veil,” and “Built Environment.” When Hoffman takes over the keys, she provides both lead melodies and creepy sci-fi radio wave effects. The haunting melodies complement catchy punk bass lines as bassist Meredith Lones steps up where the guitar is missing.