Monday, January 21, 2019

100 Albums: "Threads" by Now Now

Kurt is going through his favorite records. Read the explainer or view the master list.

Artist: Now Now
Title: Threads
Released: 2012
Genre: Nerdy indie alternative


I was smitten with the song Thread from the first listen, so I went to check out the rest of the album, and it turns out that the album Threads is largely built around the song of almost the same name. A deconstructed and abbreviated version serves as an intro track called The Pull, and lyrical motifs are repeated throughout, mainly about breaking patterns, pulling threads, and running away from problems and relationships only to get sucked back into them. The final lyric of the album in the song Magnet is "Can you still feel the pull? Can you?"

Common themes notwithstanding, apart from the intro, every single song stands on its own. If you liked the track above, the next two I'd recommend are Wolf and Lucie, Too. And for an album with some potentially mopey subject matter--frontwoman Cacie Dalager sings a lot about sleep on this record--it's surprisingly up tempo. The fastest song is probably Dead Oaks, which is also one of the most stripped down.

I love the production of the album. It's ambient and dreamy, but still guitar-forward. It's not a traditional rock setup; there is no bass, so the guitars have a little more low-end hum and there's a saw-wave synth pad sitting under almost everything. The lead guitar sounds are super shimmery. Dalager and Jess Abbott have a gorgeous vocal blend, even when they're slathered with reverb. Bradley Hale's drums are up-front, crisp, and clear, instead of sitting in the back. Whoever recorded him wants to make sure you hear the stutter-snare thing he does.

Further listening: Threads Remixed has a fantastic version of Separate Rooms, but there's not much else to recommend from this band, unfortunately. The previous albums, released under the monicker Now Now Every Children, just aren't that memorable, and after Threads Abbott left the band to work full-time on her side-project Tancred. Now Now's follow-up Saved is much more of a straight-forward pop affair, and in a way it feels like Dalager is being remade into an off-brand Hayley Williams (of the band Paramore), even down to the pink hair. Tancred has a solid following, but none of it's suited to my taste.

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