"When I think of what punk rock should be, I think of these guys. Punk was always truly about trying something new, about staying ahead of the pack, about innovation and change. Nomeansno take that idealism to heart and have attempted to do just that. Keep things progressing. When punk first came out, it was eclectic. It was the Ramones, Blondie, Television, The Talking Heads and Patti Smith, among others. When the Ramones went to England, though, people there thought punk was specifically what the Ramones sounded like, and punk has never recovered. It's been one sound-alike band after another, following a stupid set of rules, such as three chords only and no guitar solos (which wasn't even an aesthetic decision for the Ramones. Johnny Ramone just couldn't play solos.) So, around 1981 along comes NoMeansNo, a power trio out of Victoria B.C. Canada, playing a bass-heavy, rhythmic brand of punk that has never been duplicated. (The only band that seems to come close to them in sound and chops is Primus, and that's stretching it.) Nowhere was NoMeansNo more on the mark than with this album. Wrong represents the band at their most creative and energetic. Everything on this album seems like a fully formed idea taken to the max, like the planets were aligned just right and the band was at the peak of their powers. All the elements that NoMeansNo tinkered with before, were perfected on this album. The opening track 'It's Catching Up' starts off the album with an urgency that doesn't let up until the very last track. This is a band of tight musicians that listen to each other and weave a web of musical interplay that leaves me dumbfounded. I'm constantly gasping at what they can do: the speed and complexity of 'Brainless Wonder', the phenomenal bass line from 'Rags and Bones', the drum pattern in the chorus of 'Life In Hell', and the utterly simple effectiveness of 'Stocktaking' are just a few small examples of the stuff here that's breathtaking. The lyrics are all great too. The band sings about numerous topics with a mock insincerity. A song like 'It's Catching Up' sounds like it's about zombies on the surface, but this band always takes a theme and presents it in a cartoonish fashion while adressing social, political and ethical issues, as well as waxing philosophic on the great questions of our times. NoMeansNo are the musical equivalent of a graphic novel comic. Or like those comic book versions of great myths and historical stories. That's not meant to denigrate them either. I just don't think that they take themselves that seriously either. Their vocals are great too, as all of them sing. The Wright brothers in deep baritone bellows and Andy Kerr with a nasally whine that sounds like that kid who's gonna irritate and nag you to unless you listen to him. And I wouldn't want to forget the rhythm section....one of the tighest freakin' bands you'll ever hear. The Wright boys are blood and that could be the only explanation for a drum and bass duo that's so fluid and fast and works off each other like these two do. The tunes are all brilliant. 'The Tower' is one of the longer tunes and has the band telling one of their trademark 'stories' in the form of a song. It sounds like a meditation on death, and showcases their flair for wordplay and imagery (''From a burning building, a man leaps to his death!'' ''The sword of truth, is just another weapon'') as well as building up a sense of foreboding with it's steady drumming that ups the tempo with every verse. 'Brainless Wonder' is faster than even some thrash bands and has the band furiously bashing away in three distinct song parts, all in just under two minutes. NoMeansNo has an odd dichotomy to their personality....they can sometimes sum up their feelings on a subject in under a minute and other times it'll take them nine minutes to do it. 'Tired Of Waiting' is a perfect example of the former. The song is one note that the band pounds into before lumbering into the high speed verses and then going off into some strange jazz break, while the singer just rattles of all the things that he's tired of waiting for. 'Stocktaking' is the band at their minimalist best. This can be described as a band ticking away at one simple riff with an extreme intensity before exploding with a yell into the song's frenzied finish. The album's masterpiece, however, is 'Rags N' Bones', with its outstanding bass riff (which sounds suspiciously like the one from Joe Tex's 'I Gotcha!'), it's amazingly catchy chorus, and it's refrain about death being the ultimate form of peace. Quite simply, it's probably the song that best represents the band. If you don't like this tune, then ya probably won't dig the band. 'Two Lips, Two Lungs and One Tongue' and 'Oh No! Bruno!' give you an idea of the band's sense of humour and their need to play fast and loose and just rock out once in a while. 'Big D***' is the boys playing around in that funk-punk style popularized by bands like the Chili Peppers and Jane's Addiction and just doing it so much better than them. There's really not a bum track on the album. 'The End Of All Things' is another hurried number with a gorgeous chorus. The vocal harmonies from the female backup singer makes the chorus sound hopeful and sad all at once. 'Life In Hell' is a curiousity that changes time signatures about 4 times and has the band in storytelling mode again. 'I Am Wrong' is the band taking it down a notch and putting out a dirge to end the album (it also produces the great catch phrase from the back of their t-shirts 'Be Strong, Be Wrong!'). This album is just awe-inspiring through and through. It amazes me that these guys really don't care much for the big time because this album should be heard by everyone who loves loud music. Unfortunately for the band, this album represents them at their best and they haven't been able to match it in the last 15 years. This album has the power of metal that gives their sound a grandiose appeal, the speed of punk which lends the sound a ferocity it would otherwise lack, the epic tales that don't drag on self-indulgently (as they tend to on other albums) and, to top it off, several strange, undefinable tunes that span numerous genres and influences. They've put out some good stuff since this album, but this was the finest example of what progressive punk rock could achieve."
Best album by this band
Richard Thomas | washington, dc | 03/08/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I was spinning college radio when this album was released, and it's throbbing power spun my head around. Nomeansno is the core of punk on the West Coast of Canada, and this remains their best album. Loud, simple, clever, and a head-knocking pleasure to listen to. "Wrong" is on my top ten punk albums list, and anyone who doesn't rank it in at least the top twenty doesn't know squat about punk rock. Be Strong. Be Wrong."
Still wrong, still strong
High Duke | 04/22/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"My early days of music were shaped by NoMeansNo. Growing up in Victoria we felt we had a special connection with the band - we'd see them on the bus, at the paint store, serving soup at Ad Lib. SNFU and DOA might have been headlining, but I was always there for the local band. Wrong was the album that got me through highschool. What I would give to have a recording of a NoMeansRamones show, circa 1987....this album comes close. I was lucky enough to see the Hanson Brothers perform in Victoria about a month ago - they still have it together, if but for a few more grey hairs."
Get it CHEAP and REMASTERED at southern.com
bosstang | mangrape | 09/16/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"[...]you can get WRONG, MAMA, and DANCE OF THE HEADLESS.... REMASTERED with extra tracks for fkng CHEAP!!!! even imported to the states!!! i got them for less than the cost of a domestic cd in the states at your local best buy. and southern threw in extra goodies!!!!! oh yeah, the sound quality is AMAZING@!!!!!! WRONG IS A MUST HAVE!!!!! dance isn't too far behind!!!!! later!"