Review Summary: Something Like Nostalgia is a soundtrack to the rush of our lives that lives not in the rush, but in what we miss if we don’t take a moment to see what may have just gone by.
The Abbassi Brothers’ debut album, Something Like Nostalgia, is a sonic exploration performed in fifteen cut scenes. The duo has ginned up a combination of ambience, post-rock, electronica, and more than a handful of gorgeous melodies (and loops!). Most of the ideas, memories, and characters that come in and out of Something Like Nostalgia linger for just a few minutes, with most of the tracks falling near the 3 minute attention span of the average radio listener. Although the clock time is short, the ideas and melodies themselves are not rushed (despite the traffic blur cover). Most of the tracks feature sparse arrangements of keys, atmospherics, and the occasional percussion. In contemplative tracks like ‘Kompa’, the serene melody of the keys is the speaker, but several minutes later, on the aptly titled ‘Dreams of a Graffiti Artist’ the undeniable beat is what grabs the listener.
Something Like Nostalgia seeks a pleasant compromise of simple phrases repeated, and soundscapes that continually move forward and change. The longest tracks on the album, ‘Stacey’s Day Parade’ and ‘The Social Evening (in 1992)’ are minimalistic and build on a single refrain (e.g. a single piano line), but pieces such as ‘Mr. Boe’ (a track that incorporates Middle Eastern elements), and ‘Approaching the End’ are full bodied. Although the elements that make up most of the scenes are the same, Something Like Nostalgia is a cornucopia of emotion, and it is to the Abbassi Brothers’ credit that the album feels as diverse as it does. This is a quintessential headphone record; sounds that massage the brain, but will also dare the mind to place itself into landscapes of the past, and memories that are worth recreating. The Abbassi Brothers have done an admirable job creating a soundtrack to the rush of our lives that lives not in the rush, but in what we miss if we don’t take a moment to see what may have just gone by.