Huset, Copenhagen, DEN - 8/12
Written by: TL on 12/09/2012 22:26:27
You know that feeling when you hear a record and it initially sounds pretty damn good, and then down the stretch, as you listen to it numerous times, it never turns out to be quite as good as you had dared to hope it would be? That is basically the story of my relationship with "Threads", the new record by Minneapolis trio Now, Now (formerly Now, Now Every Children), which is their second full album overall and their first after signing to Trans Record, the label owned by Chris Walla, the guitarist from Death Cab For Cutie, a band that, coincidentally, does not sound all that unlike the new Now, Now album does.
The main differences are that Now, Now - maybe because they're one less member - have produced a slightly more minimalistic sound here, and then that their vocalist is a girl, namely Cacie Dalager, who also plays guitar and keyboard and whose voice sounds quite a bit like Ritzy Bryan from The Joy Formidable. The ambience and the chimes and bells add depth and texture to the sound, but these sounds reside firmly in the background behind the drums, bass and guitars and with the guitar melodies mostly being quite subtle, the burden of providing melodies often falls squarely on the vocal performance of Dalager.
The good news is that her performance here is a compelling one, and sitting at the centre of the mellow, lullaby-ish soundscape, the whole thing adds up to what will likely draw you in like it did me on early encounters, and to what has made it my "relaxation" record of the past couple of weeks. For those moments where you really need to lean back, close your eyes and just breathe and be in your own little world without interruptions for a while, this is the perfect kind of record.
The downfall of the record is that because it tries deliberately to be very subtle and elegant, the instrumentals are at all times restrained in roles that are just mellow, even when compared to super soft bands like Coldplay for instance. The soundscape will envelope you in a warm and cosy little coccoon of sound, but it hardly ever zooms in and meets you right up close and personal in any particularly intense moments, and this I think it what makes it a whole lot less eventful than what it could have been and what I had hoped for it to be.
The main exception to this rule is the (almost) title track "Thread", the opening hook of which is cleverly introduced to the reader already on album intro "The Pull", so that the casual reader might not realise why it sounds so catchy and compelling when it comes around again at track 8. The up-beat tempo helps as well, so if I had to pick one song to recommend for you to check out to see if this record is one for you, "Thread" would certainly be it. Other than that, "Threads" the album is more the kind of record which is gratifying as a whole sound - a unique mood - which you will resort to when you're in need of exactly it, more so than it is the type of record that fortifies Now, Now in a position as consistent writers of memorable hits. With a sound as good as theirs though, things can only really move in the right direction.
Download: Thread; Wolf; Lucie, Too; Prehistoric; School Friends
For The Fans Of: Death Cab For Cutie, AsOfLate, Lydia, The Joy Formidable, Silversun Pickups
Release Date 06.03.2012