No One Mind, the songwriting moniker of Durham, NC-based multi-instrumentalist Ellis Anderson, began as a direct response to the ending of a past musical collaboration, and a close friendship. Working alongside former band members Missy Thangs and Noah Dehmer, No One Mind recorded and debuted their Self-titled album, along with the single Born Again / Baron Gain in 2016 on Third Uncle Records. The music grappled with feelings of betrayal and confusion through songs ranging from biting post punk, to dissonant psych experimentation, to melancholy art pop and folk balladry, leading North Carolina’s Indy Week to name the record one of the ten best local albums of 2016, and Bandcamp Daily to claim “rarely has there been a record as focused and barbed in its execution.”
Following the release of the first record, collaborators Thangs (keyboards/synth), Joel Willis (drums), and Sam Logan (bass, guitar, synth) fleshed out the live ensemble and debuted two more singles, an ethereal cover of Anna Domino’s Land of My Dreams, and the politically rankled PG Tips. Later, after Thangs and Willis departed, Reed Benjamin (drums, synth) and Saman Khoujinian (guitar, synth) joined, and the project came into its own, shifting personalities to accommodate the change. However, Anderson’s fixation with treachery, loss, and mistrust persisted, simmering long after his old commiserators resolved to move on. In this time, he came to realize his fixation might not be a bug, but a learned feature, slowly commandeering his personality.
Secondary Gain, No One Mind’s sophomore album confronts this realization. Through muscular hooks, machinic rhythms, and heartfelt melodies, the record paints vignettes of different characters attempting to dig themselves out of mourning, having become so accustomed to the feeling, it now seems like second nature. Collaborating closely with current bandmates Benjamin and Logan to form the new record, Secondary Gain shifts from ecstasy, to dread, and back again, with songs that harness pop structure to suck the listener in, hold them in the feeling, and spit them out in 3 – 4 minutes. As the 10-track journey concludes, the singer pleads with the listener to justify the path he’s taken to achieve a form of resolution… but only one person can make that call.