Review Summary: This is just the start, we’ll find out who we are.
When Now, Now dropped the “Every Children” from their name, they seemed to follow suit with a maturity surge. It all began with the eclectic styles presented on the Neighbors
EP, which featured aspects of indie-rock, electronic music, and pop that were impressive in isolation, but failed to coalesce into something greater than the sum of their respective parts. That is where the band’s sophomore effort, Threads
, steps in. Appropriately titled, it weaves together all of the frayed strings into one identity-redeeming fabric that is indicative of Now Now’s growth. The result is the band’s most cohesive album to date, although it sacrifices a little diversity in the process.
is an album that lives and dies by the atmosphere that it creates. It takes terms like cold
and makes them appealing, offering raw instrumentation covered in a thin layer of dust that aptly sets the mood for rainy afternoons. The reverberated guitars do most of the work, but Cacie Dalager’s forlorn vocals and the unrefined drumming also contribute to the album’s organic sound. This is perhaps most apparent in the one-two punch of intro “The Pull” and follow-up “Prehistoric”, where Threads
is able to progress from the low buzz that masks Dalager’s softly hummed lyrics to something more pop-oriented. It never reaches levels of full-blown accessibility, but it always seems to possess a “just catchy enough” edge that lends a fair share of memorable moments to an otherwise ambient-driven record. Between its ability to captivate the listener and its superb atmospheric qualities, Threads
is a haven for alternative rock fans who want something with both surface level beauty and a great deal of depth.
Where Now, Now slightly falters, however, is their noticeable lack of variety. Compared to their debut LP Cars
or their most recent EP (the aforementioned Neighbors
is an album that appears to have lost a little bit of energy over the course of the band’s transformation. It may have been inevitable that, in search of a more distinctive identity, they would have no choice but to drop the electronic undertones, the Paramore-reminiscent mainstream pop, or the ambient rock instrumentation. There is no doubt that Now, Now has taken a more subdued approach here, thus eliminating any chance of them creating another song like “Giants”, but they haven’t entirely ditched their pop roots, either. The best explanation is probably that they didn’t abandon
any of their foundations, but rather shifted focus to one in particular. With Threads
, it appears that Now, Now have settled on ambient rock, even adding in some noise and shoegaze elements to cement the decision. As a band, it solidifies their identity…and many fans won’t find fault with that. However, those who have followed them over the years may find that the homogeneity of the album detracts from the group’s once limitless potential.
In the end, though, Threads
is an enjoyable experience in alt/ambient rock. After a long look at their hand, Now, Now has finally played their strongest cards and proven that they can craft a very good album in the process. Even though it can be repetitive at times, it still possesses enough standout moments to keep it from fading into oblivion. Whereas the band seemed to have too many ideas before, they have now chosen what works best and have gone extremely specific. They could use more variation in their approach, and perhaps a few fresh ideas stylistically, but as the lyrics to ‘The Pull’ indicate, “This is just the start, we’ll find out who we are.”