Thursday, February 28, 2013

Nicknames - Lowball

01. Start Conversation
02. Empties In The Pool
03. Sleep Where You Fall
04. Walking Juice
05. Comedown Kid

I'll be honest - it took me a while to warm to 'Lowball'. It's very difficult to make something fresh with guitar-led "twinkly" emo, a style that's been imitated plenty of times. But the sincerity of Nicknames' newest effort won me over - the vocals seize attention from the start, and the frustration in their execution pulls you in further. Stripping back the melody to only one guitar and keeping percussion restrained to the background, the thin harmonies here gain an honest, back-to-basics charm. Don't be fooled though - the lyrics are dripping in irony. Nicknames sing and scream, thoroughly dischanted, but amongst that frustration with staying clean, they're subtly clver. Often darkly wistful, lyrics refer to "a haze/ inside a day inside a summer/ to recover i've been drinking heavily", or ask harsh, bitter questions: "can you not taste how stale this place is yet?". Behind the sparkly melodies there's certainly anguish - but it's more thoughtful, aged and embittered. Here's a band that's been on the road for a while, that's felt the world. And the effect is a good, solid record from Nicknames.

Reviewed by Beth.

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