Review Summary: Now, Now shows us a little bit of what they've got.
Formerly known as Now, Now Every Children, this indie rock trio from Minnesota has only recently started to poke its head into the public eye. After forming in 2003, Now, Now released a couple of unheralded EP’s before dropping their first full length album Cars
, which resulted in the band’s support of Paramore during a tour across Europe in late 2009. Still unknown to a large degree, Now, Now has given us their latest offering in the form of an EP, entitled Neighbors
follows up Cars
with their distinct indie-rock sound, one that is significantly more subdued than a band such as, say, Paramore. The vocal style of lead singer Cacie Dalager seems like a cross between Hayley Williams and Regina Spektor, although not as powerful as the prior or with as many inflections in her arsenal as the latter. Still, Dalager’s voice is intriguing enough to draw the listener in and soothing enough to be flawlessly integrated with the real driving force behind the songs: the instruments. Now, Now’s technical proficiency can be heard in isolation during the EP’s opening track, “Rebuild”, which opens with some mysterious but uplifting keyboard notes. Those notes are eventually layered with an intermittent, borderline techno backbeat that gives the song an electronic feel which carries on right into the ensuing tracks. The band’s sound on Neighbors
might be described as ambient rock; they aren’t dark
, per se, but they are certainly more reliant on instrumental atmospheres and eclectic style integration than most of the female-led bands that they associate with. As a result, Neighbors
has the feel of a slightly experimental underground indie record.
“Giants” and “Jesus Camp” are prime examples of Now, Now’s diversity. Driven by quick, punchy drumming and punk-rock electric guitar chords, “Giants” establishes the band’s knack for capturing the ideals of mainstream rock; thus proving that they just might have a place among the popular music scene. On the other hand, “Jesus Camp” starts with an organ and features vocals from Dalager that are more akin to the likes of Shiny Toy Guns or Zero 7. The song eventually starts to build with some heavier bass and low, distant sounding drum beats before erupting into a sea of piano notes and warped, ambient electronic effects that sound like they could have come out of a video game soundtrack. The acoustic versions of “Giants” and “Neighbors” are both excellent as well, illustrating the band’s ability to strip everything down and deliver equally as effective, if not better, performances. Now, Now doesn’t appear to have one “prototypical” sound, which, when you have as broad of a skill set as they do, isn’t necessarily a bad thing. This is a group that is clearly still finding their footing, but in doing so they are also starting to reveal their influences, their multi-faceted technique, and ultimately, their level of promise as a band.
As a whole, Neighbors
is thoroughly enjoyable. It may not pin down one central identity or capture the band reaching their full potential, but it is certainly expansive…and a solid step towards the apex of their career. There is enough here to prove that they have more tricks up their sleeve, and it is only a matter of time before that creative flair results in a masterpiece. Until then, Neighbors
is a charming little EP that will serve as an appetizer for the feast to come.