Review Summary: You're not that boring, Nai Harvest.
Nai Harvest is a two piece emo band from the UK doing the same things everyone else has been doing for a few years now. I'm serious. If there is one single original thing about this band, I can't find it.
Why is this album great, though?
Because they do it right, if not better than the bands they're echoing.
Whatever is Nai Harvest's full length debut, and down to the vocal style, the part screamy, part whiny, part group wails, they hit all the notes (even if they can't ACTUALLY hit the notes). It's not bad, I personally enjoy it quite a bit. It's just something every fan of the genre has heard before. I'm definitely not trying to take away from the band, because it works really ***ing well. It conveys the desperate emotion yet doesn't come off as forced or try-hard like some contemporaries seem to love doing. The always slightly off-note voice pairs well with the lyrical themes going on here, which touch on feelings of insecurity, inadequacy, and the terrifying idea of being left behind while everyone else is moving on. Lead singer Ben (though both members sing) has this shy yet commanding voice, like someone who has kept their mouth shut for too long. His singing feels like a violent explosion of emotion, years of buildup to a chaotic release. This gives the album a particular flavor, even if it doesn't really establish much ground of it's own.
The shining elements here are the instrumentals, and the energy they contain. There's not a single song on this album that doesn't feel filled intense, tempo-changing, and dynamic moments. The opening track "Whatever" is one of my favorites, with numerous speed shifts, fast and catchy (twinkly, duh) guitar riffs, and the group vocals which are overflowing with alcohol and energy. No song on this album feels under-worked, drawn out, or bored. Even the slow tracks (by comparison) have this pounding energy through Ben and Lew's strained and vocal chord shredding shout. From the aggressive guitar work on tracks like "You're Not That Boring", to the comparatively relaxed riffs on "Quit Mackin", this band is never standing still. Whatever is a testament to how effective these two are at creating 10 tracks that remain different even if they're all more or less the same. The running time, which clocks in at under 30 minutes, is probably one of the reasons this album is so successful. There's no time for anything here to become stale, and no song is too same-sounding as the others.
Even though Whatever isn't the most particularly original album, it's forgivable because of the pure musicianship and effort that went into making this. You can tell that Nai Harvest is more than two guys who just want to play music that they like, every song on this album sounds worked over. They manage to do more in 30 short minutes than other emo bands can do in 50.
It's derivative, but that's okay.
Whatever is a whole lot more than its title implies.