Review Summary: An incredibly poppy indie record with summer and desire written all over it.
Now, Now is an indie pop band that I only heard about in passing or from friends casually mentioning them. I even recall initially disliking the overall synth influence and the placing of samples. But, if anything, this helps drive "Saved" as a powerful, surreal and borderline lust-driven, love-sick summer album from the simplistic, optimistic drum beats to plucky but thoughtful guitar strumming coupled with romantic lyricism. It's their foray into a more indie pop sound and quite a departure from the depressive alt rock nature of "Threads," which was a masterpiece in its own right.
Some songs such as "Can't Help Myself" have synths at every corner with soft vocals occupying the overall beat of the track as streamlined as it may be, which could be said for the majority of the record.
The vocals are also incredibly gentle while having a bit of a noticeable lilt, sometimes lowering or becoming even sarcastically depressive on the title track. The tone constantly moves between heartbreak, frustration, desire and satisfaction with the musicianship reflecting on this, changing with the vocals. This result in an incredibly human sound that works as the record has no explicitly deep lyrics that need to be deciphered, and instead can be taken at face value.
However, some lyricism is re-used and the synths are underutilized and don't have a presence in most tracks. They can feel as if they are merely an afterthought to fill the track and to extend the time, but it does not do much to detract from the overall feel of the record. And with a 45 minute run-time, the album feels a little bloated and could potentially do without "Drive", which has a hard time establishing itself in the band's new era and feels like a b-side from "Threads", but it quite didn't belong on that record, either.
And the closer itself ("P0WDER") calls back to "Threads" itself, with it being quite easy to digest before launching you into a mix of sounds that forces you to pay full attention. It's also the only track where I find myself questioning just what it could be about, with lines such as "This place without you is sin" and "stuck in a particle dream". It might be as simplistic as the other love-lost pop tunes, but it's quite hard to tell which is what makes the track itself stand out, aside from the intense closer.
Overall, "Saved" is a new sound for Now, Now and hopefully one they will continue to expand upon and improve. It proves they don't need to recreate "Threads" and are quite capable with a completely different set of tools, but it is quite possible they could go with another style altogether in the future. Let's hope not.