Of the late 00s, early 10s bands that amorphized indie rock and punk into a guitar-y pulp – of which you could arguably include The Men and Lower Dens, for instance – No Age were generally agreed as the most artful. Rapaciousness and melody were fond acquaintances under the songwriting hue of Randy Randall and Dean Allen Spunt, often to bruisingly striking result. But in 2013, after four (consistently strong and even inappreciably adventurous) records in seven years, their contract at Sub Pop wasn’t renewed. Guitar-y pulp was dead to indie labels; sidelined for the emerging legion of fourth wave emo, earnestly scrappy indie, and more straight-edged noise rock bands like White Lung. It’s apt then, that No Age’s fifth album Snares Like A Haircut is a nailed-on “rock’n’roll record” (Spunt, speaking to Spin a few weeks ago) that’s both familiar and eclectic.

That isn’t to say that the base inventiveness which distinguished No Age is extinct, rather its imbued with volatile ideas both newfangled and pre-dating the band’s formation. ‘Secret Swamp’ is glittering in copious chord changes that meaningfully change not only the pace of the song but its tone and emotionality, drifting from exhaling resignation to embittered resolve, tainted promises crumbling under the recurrent conjunction of “I guess,” a pop punk song in all but paintjob. ‘Stuck In The Changer’ is a shoegaze banger; soaring, sad and starry-eyed, and one of the most perfect encapsulations of No Age’s rapacious melody through its miasmic reverb. The title track and ‘Third Grade Rave’ are baroque instrumental respites. ‘Tidal’ is their truest thrusting throwback to the pulp, Cheshire cat-grin guitars cheered on by a generous kickdrum. The crook of indie rock they typified may have dissipated but their craft and initiative certainly haven’t.

What has become more pronounced is the band’s angst, manifesting as a dread of irrelevance and insignificance that’s difficult to discern as either existential or rooted in The Scene given rock music seems to get younger with each passing day. It’s likely both.

It opens In Ennui Res. ‘Cruise Control’ is a prototypical fuck-I-am-actually-an-adult-now crisis, where trundling power riffs whir between apprehension and remorse; “Doesn’t matter where you are/ The shoe fits, just quite the same”. Its opaque blurtings about life’s tedium and time’s passing are the anxieties Jeff Rosenstock tackled pretty definitively on 2016’s Worry, but the guitars’ agitated energy and the clandestine agony of Spunt’s bark are singular, valuable communicators. It verves from the lifestyle insouciance of ‘Tidal’ – “Don’t you wanna face/ Where other people?/ All the time we’ve gone and gone/ We can’t say no” – to a craving to participate. Relative slowjam ‘Send Me’ – its focal riff frantic to gallop but elegantly restrained save for two momentary, immensely gratifying breakdowns – is a pining for something better and palatable. ‘Popper’ inverts any such wistfulness and gets angry, entreating that Spunt’s “got a lot to offer,” railing back against the band’s alleged (self-imposed?) irrelevance.

‘Squashed’ curdles cyclically, deploying a determined pedal loop which jitters the song’s more expansive guitar line. It’s also an unexpected self-affirmation; “St. Augustine looks a lot like me/ In his apartment on Sunset Street,” before easing into “I’ve got so many reasons to feel lucky that I’m me”. Imposter syndrome, the immutable travails of time, the prongs of mental illness; all snake their way through Snares, but No Age recall some semblance of their capability, both musically, and more fundamentally as people. At their peak, and not infrequently on Snares Like a Haircut they’re within touching distance, No Age are one of the most thrilling rock bands on this planet.