Sound — 8
Now, Now are a three-piece from Blaine, Minnesota, consisting of Cacie Dalager (guitar, vocals, keyboards), Bradley Hale (drums, backing vocals), and Jess Abbott (guitar, vocals). Now, Now blend indie rock and post-rock with a dreamy quality and a vocalist reminiscent of Karen O (Yeah Yeah Yeahs) or Emily Haines (Metric). The first song I heard from this band was Prehistoric and since then I was hooked. Released by Chris Walla's label Trans-Records, this album consists of 12 tracks blending sounds similar to Explosions In The Sky, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and Yppah. The album begins with the track, "The Pull", which is a remix of one of their old songs done by Brad and would later be expanded into the title track. This track has a very dreamy quality, with dampened lyrics that acts as a teaser for what will follow on the record, and in my opinion, is a good start to the record. Following "The Pull", the track "Prehistoric" begins where the previous songs left off. The song has stylistic qualities similar to that of "Set The Ray To Jerry", a B-side by the Smashing Pumpkins. "Lucie, Too" is the third track and the introduction is similar to the sound Explosion In The Sky have on the "Take Care, Take Care, Take Care" album. Cacie and Jess split the vocals equally on this track, which is a little hard to catch at first since their singing is very similar. "Dead Oaks" is a track that seems unfinished and incomplete, which a constant build-up that isn't released until the next track, "OH. HI." which has a very different sound from the other tracks on the record. The song is very rhythmic and energetic, with strange melodies. The first time I heard it, I wasn't a fan but after a few more listens it became a favourite. "But I Do" is a track that seemed to lack energy and had little hook. I did not enjoy this track, however, what is lacking in this track is present in the next track on the record, "Separate Rooms". "Thread" - the title track. This was a good choice. This song is very energetic with a simple solo, hypnotic guitar riffs, and the signature harmony blending between Cacie and Jess present throughout the album. Following the title track is Wolf, which also took a few listens to really appreciate the song. The track has unusual vocal melodies, especially in the interlude. "School Friends" is similar to "Dead Oaks" in the sense that it seems to be a constant build-up without a release or any climatic hooks. "Colony" follows, with the primary instrumentation being on what sounds like the banjo. Did not enjoy this track. "Magnet" however ends the album well, being the most reminiscent in sound to an Explosion In The Sky track.
Lyrics — 7
The lyrics on the album seem to touch on themes of relationships and the routines associated with them. Patterns are a recurring image in the lyrics. The simple lyrics compliment the layered sound coming from the guitars well, creating a unique acoustic quality to the electric instrumentation. Cacie has a lower female register which harmonizes well with Jess and Brad's vocals, and none of the songs are over-sung. The vocal melodies emphasize the melancholy sound the band achieves with their guitar work and both mesh together very well. Although Cacie and Jess are not the best singers, their voices and style suit the music they produce very well.
Overall Impression — 8
This album is one of my favorite releases from 2012. In a world dominated by digital recording and over-production, this album is very raw emotionally. I absolutely love it and the cover art suits the album well. This album is definitely an overdue and respectable follow-up to their earlier release from 2008, "Cars". The previous release seems to lack the energy and guitar-work that Jess has brought to the music after joining in 2009. Bass tracks can also be clearly heard on this album even though the position in the band has not been filled. The most impressive songs of this album are definitely "Prehistoric", "Lucie, Too", "OH. HI" and "Thread". If this album was lost or stolen, I would definitely buy another copy, as well as buying some band merchandise to further support Now, Now. This is a great album that should be heard at least once.