Sound — 7
Post-punk revivalists Nakatomi Plaza give pop-punk a shot of hardcore on the trio's third album Unsettled, put out by Red Leader/Brightskull Records and produced by J. Robbins (Jawbox, Burning Airlines). The New York City underground band took their name from Bruce Willis' movie Die Hard after the tower which was under the threat of terrorists. The music features the intricate guitaristry and screamo canons of Oscar Rodriguez, the rigorous bass fretting and siren's voicing of Al Fair, and the stoked drumming of Lou Maiolica. Nakatomi Plaza is a cross between I am The Avalanche and Meg & Dia. Their punk urgency is tense and frothy while their pop-punk trimmings are melodic and soar with bursts of flurries. Their ranges are ambitious delivering energy, passion, and urgency into their scores like in the opening track A Manifest Destiny Grows In Brooklyn sung by Fair and spun into a heavy alternative rock creation. Fair's vocals have a register liken to the duo of Meg & Dia Frampton while the guitar thrusts foam up and scurry undercoating the rock anthem. The band also work in dance punk beats on tracks like Not Hopeless and Red Room, while Rodriguez's vocals inject a screamo effect along Fair's velvety vocal textures. The stocky guitar riffs twist, chomp, and tear through the granite-like rhythmic patterns. At times, there is a hardcore/alternative rock sonorous liken to Logan Square on Calling All Cars but then there are episodes of heavy punk-rock overtones liken to Mad Caddies and The Soviettes materializing on numbers like The Strikes and Don't Close Your Eyes. There is a surliness in the winding tension but also fun in the sonic breakers reflective of Chixdiggit. Unsettled is Nakatomi Plaza's follow up to their second offering Private Property and their debut outing By Chester Copperpot. With each album, the band has refined their raw punk sound and become more articulate in their rock anthems and punk urges.
Lyrics — 8
The lyrics have a socio-political tone and reflect about society's recurring problems and dysfunctional cycles which influence negative behavior and foster society's crippleness. The songs are written to cleanse society of their own toxins like in the track Not Hopeless when Fair sings, Waiting for the time/Waiting for motivation/Waiting for the world to stop so I can catch my breath/But the system carries on and history keeps repeating the patterns/Stitched inside the lining of our cultures.
Overall Impression — 7
Nakatomi Plaza's music is a product of their influences like Jawbox, Propaghandi, and Nirvana and of the band's need to express themselves with punk/rock phrases. They need a little more diversity to distinguish their tracks but they have passion for their music.