Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Nai Harvest Adds More Than Whatever

Nai Harvest
After their successful debut album last spring, Sheffield-based grunge punks Nai Harvest are ready to follow it up. Their newest EP will drop next March. They have already managed to squeeze in studio time to record the title track.

Hold Open My Heart is the first single off the upcoming four-track EP. It includes a new indie edge that builds upon the band's emo roots. Ben Thomson (vocals, guitar) and Lew Currie (drums) have confirmed that it's how their sound will evolve. 

Hold Open My Heart is a bright spot on indie rock.

Recorded and mixed by Bob Cooper, Hold Open My Heart tones down the shouting and adds in distortion to give the track a grunge-like texture while retaining the band's brooding energy.

The lyrics are rife with sentiment. The song is essentially about what happens when love or friendship gets all mucked up. All we ever want is to keep those early and easy carefree feelings intact, but that never really happens. Once a relationship is ruined, we can't erase the bad or scoop out what ends up clogging up our heads. 

Thompson nails the vocals in lending sincerity to the song. The lyrics rightly capture how disappointing it can be when you can't joke around or playfully kick someone anymore. And since he can't get the bad out, he leaves the house or goes to sleep instead.

If the EP is an indication of their direction, expect this band to see a big return for the effort. While the track never makes a break from the debut LP, it does capitalize on what the duo does best. 

In essence, it takes the unique undercurrent of their sound and brings it to the forefront as opposed to letting it linger until after the midpoint in tracks like Sitcom Fade-In. The songwriting also provides a glimmer of difference too, moving beyond the vignette and into some deeper self-reflection.

Many of the tracks from the debut Whatever snuck up on fans just like that. They started off as emo songs but eventually broke away and into other indie, grunge, or punk influences. It often makes the music vibrant and unexpected.

If you missed the album, some of the best includes the head-spin in Quit Mackin', the outcast angst of Floor, and the reflective romp Twin Tweaks. All three of these tracks go beyond the retelling of a relationship and dig deeper to touch on the psychology and sometimes psychosis of it. The band has an especially empathic grasp on loneliness; Washy lights up how it feels. 

The music and arrangements are handled right enough to forget that the band is a duo, even if some tunes were originally written for a three-piece band. They originally had a third member, until Thompson and Currie learned they got on better alone. A third member, they said, felt like extra baggage.

They make up for the lack of a bassist by playing loud. Currie covers it well with percussion and Thompson leans on his guitar to create a sound as throaty as his vocals.

Hold Open My Heart Is A Fresh Start At 8.2 On The Liquid Hip Richter Scale

By broadening their sound beyond emo, Nai Harvest has a head start on another great year. If there is anything that is especially telling about their latest evolution it is that they used to sound like an emo band on the onset. It's becoming difficult to cast them in that category. Now they sound like Nai Harvest. 

The new track, Hold Open My Heart, is up on Bandcamp. If you want to catch up with their earlier work, you can find Whatever on Amazon or download it from iTunes. Sheffield is in South Yorkshire, United Kingdom, for those who don't know. The band is touring the UK heavily in December. Check out Facebook for dates. 
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