The Scene Vets in No Volcano Go Harder and Darker on Dead Horse Power

Dead Horse Power is the new release from Phoenix band, No Volcano. These 11 songs rolled into one package of sonic goodness are a lot of things, but one thing it shouldn’t be is a background record. You could try putting it on at a low volume to use as a soundtrack to other activities, sure, but don’t be surprised if that becomes a futile effort.

Its sound is swirling; continuously brewing, bubbling, and striking out when necessary. It is that motion-filled depth that, at first, surrounds you and engages you. Then, it does what the best recordings do – it pulls you right into its gut. It’s the kind of fully-loaded record that you listen to from within it. Dead Horse Power doesn’t give you any reason to rush to crawl out from its clutches, that’s for sure.

No Volcano’s sound is an intriguing mix of styles and genres, from pop, to choppy art punk, to relentless post punk, to rock ’n’ roll that’s sometimes glam-y and sometimes throwing a bit of sexy swagger in your face. No Volcano’s sound is successful because they know how to take such a broad mix and serve it up smoothly, without confusion. There’s some glorious chaos, that’s for sure, but it is part of the mix, creating more awe than surprise. Though their sound isn’t worlds away from their last release, it shows some of the evolution that comes from a well-explored union.

“We wanted it to be a little harder and darker than our last release,” singer/guitarist Jim Andreas says. “And we do feel like we achieved that.”

Bassist Jake Sevier said that the prolific band doesn’t like to keep a lot of things in limbo.

“We develop our ideas into songs, play them live, record them, and then move on — it feels like we’re raising something,” he says. “If something doesn’t work for all of us, we don’t move forward with it.”
The band’s members (Andreas on vocals/guitar, Chris Kennedy on drums/vocals/keys/guitar, Jeremy Randall on guitar, and Sevier on bass) have all been around the musical block. Some of the four have played together in different combinations over the years, and they have all been in one or more local acts, including Trunk Federation, Colorstore, Letdownright, and King Fathand. Their chemistry is a mix of that experience along with an appreciation for each other’s talents.

No Volcano started in 2014 with Andreas, Kennedy, and Sevier. Andreas jokes that they “hunted Randall down until he finally said yes.” Albeit a joke, that act of stalking brought together the different guitar sounds they wanted — Andreas’ cleaner sound with Randall’s penchant for effects. The pair plays together in a way that highlights the distinction of each, and together, they create sweet spots that unite powerfully.

The rhythm section is an equally vicious duo. Kennedy’s drums are sharp, thorough, and so smart it hurts. His prominent presence buttresses all the other sounds, as it is forceful and unavoidable. He is massive in the ability of knowing when to enhance or control. Sevier shares that ability as his bass drives, weaves, and constructs rhythms that add to the headiness of the whole project.

The band is feeling great about the Phoenix music scene these days, and likes the reciprocal energy that live shows spawn.

“We are grateful to be a part of what’s going on in Phoenix right now, with so many great bands that are active,” Andreas says. “We hope people will come see us at this CD release show and beyond, and be a part of what we are doing.”

No Volcano is scheduled to play Saturday, November 26, at Crescent Ballroom.
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Amy Young is an arts and culture writer who also spends time curating arts-related exhibits and events, and playing drums in local bands French Girls and Sturdy Ladies.
Contact: Amy Young