Now, Now
Saved


3.5
great

Review

by Grant S. USER (9 Reviews)
May 16th, 2018 | 20 replies


Release Date: 2018 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Seize the moment; restraint be damned.

If I had to summarize Now, Now with one concept it would be this: sexual tension. Now, Now has always been interested in the awkward glance across the room at someone you find attractive, fascinated by the moment in which you accidentally catch their eye. Their densely layered synths and reverb soaked guitars evoke the feeling of long car rides and not quite knowing what to do with your hands. If 2013’s Threads was the uncomfortable tension of the first contact, Saved is about seizing the moment; restraint be damned. Just like making the first move, it isn’t always pretty, but when it works out, it can be genuinely mesmerizing.

Opener SGL makes this immediately clear. Gone are the gentle guitar picks of Threads, replaced with aggressive strums and up-tempo drum beats. Singer KC Dalager’s glossy voice takes control with simple but maddeningly catchy pop hooks all throughout the track. This newfound confidence extends all throughout Saved. Can’t Help Myself and Yours are both sparkling retro influenced electro pop grooves, with delay drenched synths, thunderous kick drums and snappy snare hits all twirling around one another. As Dalager sings “How could I see you with anyone but me"” the track pulses and throbs. Even the ballads have a sort of reckless energy; Window begins as a standard pop ballad but warps into a faux dream pop soundscape by the end. Drive is sleepy, but serene and seems to be one of the few nods to Now, Now’s past as a more traditional indie band, with it’s smooth rhythm guitar subtly driving beneath the tranquil soundscape.

Saved has its share of stumbles though. SGL sounds suspiciously similar to Set It Free, both sharing the driving drum beat and the simple guitar accents in their choruses. The echoing keyboards and repeating samples of Holy Water are pretty, but inconsequential at best and a rip-off of 2013 era Lorde at worst. AZ is total filler, with frustratingly sloppy vocoder samples being used as a substitute for an earned musical climax at the end. From the “holy figures at the edge of my bed” in AZ to the chorus of Holy Water (“You touch me like an angel, but you kiss me like a sinner“), the lyrical themes of the divine throughout the album come off as a bit heavy handed, and sometimes distract from the much more enjoyable lyricism that focuses on the zealous energy that comes from making the first move.

It’s hard to understate how much KC Dalager’s performance will influence your personal enjoyment of this record. On a cursory listen, she just doesn’t have the range or intensity of her contemporaries. Her crooning alto has a way of bouncing off the ear on first listen. Songs like MJ are fairly indicative of this; sometimes it feels like she isn’t actually singing a melody, but her voice has a way of playfully entwining with the instrumentation beneath it. It’s an unusual way to create pop hooks that isn’t always successful. Take the title track and Knowme for example: they are both built around Dalager’s voice, but they both fail to really establish any kind of soundscape for Dalager’s voice to dance around in. In the case of the aforementioned tracks, it can turn into an aimless mess, with neither singer nor song clearly taking the lead. But on songs like MJ or Can’t Help Myself, Dalager is able to blend seamlessly into the mix as if her voice was an instrument itself, and her voice adds so much to the feeling of wild romantic abandon that pervades throughout the record.

There is a moment about halfway through the closer of the record, P0WDER, where the song suddenly switches from being an airy pop jam to an apocalyptic, barren sonic nightmare. It is extremely jarring to say the least. I think this could be read as the moment when Now, Now finally tires of being the instigator, sick of making the first move. And that’s something I sympathize with. While there is a certain thrill in sending the first flirtatious message or asking for the first date, such constant social pressures can wear a person thin. Perhaps this is the most honest moment on Saved, the only time when Now, Now isn’t putting up a front. Even if that is true, Saved is still quite an enjoyable time; just realize that they aren’t quite as smooth as they want you to think they are.



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user ratings (43)
Chart.
3
good
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Comments:Add a Comment 
ahousedivided
May 15th 2018


31 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Album drops on 5/18, but it is streaming in its entirety here:

https://www.npr.org/2018/05/14/610131590/first-listen-now-now-saved



joshsimcoe
May 15th 2018


1 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

really didn’t like this as much as i thought i would

ohtheurgency
May 15th 2018


110 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

Disagree with the rating, but agree with the review if that makes sense. It really floats around a 2-2.5, but I felt that that's too generous. Good song ideas, but terrible execution or too dated without being interesting/slightly innovative.



Edit: After listening to it a few times, and KC's voice drags it down. Instrumentally it's great, especially the backing guitars on MJ, Yours, SGL, and more (i'll edit this and put more).

TheSpaceMan
May 16th 2018


11395 Comments


didnt deserve the neg, and my pos means the world so COUNTERED

TheSpaceMan
May 16th 2018


11395 Comments


although I recommend using quotes ( " [] " ) to name songs, looks so much better than bold font. just my opinion

ahousedivided
May 16th 2018


31 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

@ohtheirgency yeah I really disliked it at first but it was a real grower. Maybe you’ll feel the same way?



@TheSpaceMan thank you so much! Yeah this is the first review I’ve done where I’ve used so many song titles and I think it does look a little off with the bold. Next time I’ll probably switch.

BlushfulHippocrene
Contributing Reviewer
May 16th 2018


2486 Comments


"If I had to summarize Now, Now with one concept it would be this: sexual tension. Now, Now has always been interested in the awkward glace across the room at someone you find attractive and accidently catching their eye." -- I find the first sentence's use of "summarise... with" and "concept" a tad awkward; I'm not sure that it's """incorrect""", but I think something along the lines of "If Now, Now could be summed up by a single concept, it would be this...", or perhaps "It it were possible to encapsulate Now, Now within a single concept..." (Awful examples, and I'm being pedantic as heck, but something about it reads a little off to me. It might honestly just be me, however. If so: excuse me.) Oh, and should "glace" be "glance" or am I misreading?

Otherwise, honestly, I adore the way you write. You're quite good at it, I think. Very descriptive piece, but also some great analysis weaved in. Agreed with Space about the song titles, it's no big deal but " or ' are less distracting. Keep writing if you find the time, man, I'd like to read more. Checking Threads.

Digging: Mitski - Be the Cowboy

ohtheurgency
May 16th 2018


110 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

@ahousedivided Yeah I think it will be a grower. I still believe that KC is the biggest con of the album. Great instrumentals, bad vocals+lyrics.

ahousedivided
May 16th 2018


31 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

@Blushfulhippocrene thank you so much! I actually just tweaked some of the phrasing in there now and I think it sounds a little better. And no, “glace” isn’t a word, it just slipped past me. Good catch!

SowingSeason
Moderator
May 16th 2018


27558 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I reviewed their debut EP Neighbors back in 2010, but haven't really kept up with them. It sounds like they've become a lot more interesting based on your review, so I'll be checking this out. Nice write-up.

Digging: mewithoutYou - (Untitled) E.P.

dbizzles
May 16th 2018


11892 Comments


I saw these guys open for Kevin Devine 4-5 years ago and they were great. Not huge on their recordings, but Threads and Neighbors are both decent enough.

cheapcrayon
May 16th 2018


50 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

thanks for not giving this a bad score just because they changed their sound. band was great when they recorded Threads and they’re great now too. Just different. saw them live last year and they played a mix of old and new stuff and it was good shit.

TooManyFriends
May 16th 2018


2885 Comments


small sample size but avg is way way way too low wtf

cheapcrayon
May 16th 2018


50 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

^ agreed

SandwichBubble
May 16th 2018


7053 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5 | Sound Off

"giving this a bad score just because they changed their sound"

who has summoned me

Digging: Refrigerator - Lonesome Surprize

Taxt
May 16th 2018


1158 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This is decent. I'm still kind of surprised by how much I love Threads, but the transition to a glossier sound here is kind of a let down.

Digging: mewithoutYou - [untitled] e.p.

cheapcrayon
May 17th 2018


50 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I’m moreso talking about people that will automatically give a 1.0 because this new poppy sound isn’t their thing.

theBoneyKing
May 17th 2018


15108 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I liked their last album quite a bit, I’ve drifted off to sleep to it many a time. Don’t have super high hopes for this though

Digging: Animal Collective - Feels

cheapcrayon
May 17th 2018


50 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This will probably wind up being a 3.5 for me. Fav tracks are probably SGL, MJ, Yours, and Drive. Least favorite is definitey Holy Water.

theBoneyKing
May 24th 2018


15108 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

On first listen this isn't bad really but it's incredibly generic; nothing stands out at all.



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