Monday, June 22, 2009

Album Review: Nightmare Of You-Infomaniac

There are few bands that manage to straddle the fine line between maintaining an original sound while at the same time keeping things in a comfortable realm. Nightmare Of You is one of those bands. Hailing from the fertile Long Island music scene, the band has released only one full length album, a five song EP, and a handful of demos over their five year existence. Now, four years after their original, self titled full length, and two years removed from their EP, Bang, they return with this twelve song album.

The aforementioned originality combined with familiarity comes with being able to avoid ripping off ones influences, while still making these influences obvious. First and foremost, frontman Brandon Reilly has a voice that's settled somewhere between the snarkiness of a young Billie Joe Armstrong and the smoothness of Morrisey. While he's certainly not trying to sound like either one, the similarities merit mentioning. Musically, the band revels in the poppier elements of The Smiths while throwing in a healthy dose of modern indie rock.

Leading track, Good Morning, Waster, is a simple acoustic track with a little slide guitar until the heavy outro kicks in, complete with a backing of trumpets and saxophones. This track leads into the piano driven Eustacia Vye. Someday But Not Today is the pure ballad that was missing from their last record. Hey Sweetheart, which has been floating around in demo form for a few years now, has been reworked and expanded from it's original form. Whereas the demo was more piano driven (by a tack piano, no less), this version is more polished and "complete" sounding. Experimental Bed features a funky bass rythym and a sax chorus, and manages to sound seductive and vulnerable at the same time. Gavi hearkens to the sound found on the latter part of the Bang EP, until the driving chorus. A Pair Of Blue Eyes is a straight up 3/4 ballad with a twist, as Reilly opens the song by repeating the line "there's gotta be some way out of here".

If there was anything that could be considered a flaw with Nightmare Of You's debut album, it's that it was a bit too hip for it's own good. While the album was (and still is) quite good, it seems as if some of the band's overt "indieness" seemed a little forced. While it remains to be seen if Infomaniac has the staying power that that one has had, it seems as if the band (and Reilly in particular) are much more confident this time around. The result is an album that, at first listen, is at once pleasing and satisfying. While the "pleasing" sound is enough to keep me interested for the first few listens, the "satisfying" element is likely to keep me coming back to this album over time.

A Pair Of Blue Eyes

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