Let us start with a brief history: Now, Now formed in 2003 and released their first full length Cars in 2008, which was fairly average. They acquired vocalist/guitarist Jess Abbott in 2009 and released several EPs between then and now. OK, all caught up?
There are two reasons I decided Now, Now (formerly Now, Now Every Children) was worth a listen. Number one: Abbott is a Maine native, like me, which is an extremely rare thing. Number two: they have a direct connection with Paramore (I’m an original parafan, i.e. Warped ’05). Unfortunately, a third important thing was clearly absent up till now.
The sophomore full-length features a trio more focused and mature, which would explain the band’s reasoning for dropping “Every Children” from the name. Musically, the album is both powerful and elegant, almost transforming you from the start. There are explosions of sound, often grungy (“Prehistoric”), often subtle (“Magnet”), which create a beautiful, eye-opening experience that flows without care. Perhaps it is this combination of sound, felt with Cacie Dalager and Jess Abbott’s vocal pairing that creates these feelings? Nevertheless, this creation is worthy of praise.
Fittingly, album opener ‘The Pull” pulls you in – clever trick. The eerie filter and Dalager’s muffled vocals are haunting, and without pause “Prehistoric” follows in such a way that it sounds more like track 1B, than track 2. The flow between tracks makes the change virtually unrecognizable. Vocally, the track finally differentiates itself by clearing up the muffled mix, and then later the grunge element of the song appears. Shades of The Cranberries are strewn throughout the entire album, but most obviously in this moment. With Dalager’s nonchalant tone and the band’s creative sound, the appeal of the two tracks is clear – a perfect recipe which starts the record brilliantly.
Highlights are shown vividly throughout the album, but primarily with two tracks: “Lucie, Too” and “Magnet.” “Lucie, Too” resembles Eisley in many ways (vocal pairing with an indie-pop musical blend). The bass-line and keyboard resonate during the first verse only to give way to an upbeat poppy chorus, which continues into the next verse/chorus. A dark bridge with a subtle keyboard hint connects the song to its end. It is a standout moment of the song as well as the entire album. Album closer “Magnet” shifts between feelings, both somber and uplifting. The keyboard and guitar play the two characters, respectively. It is the latter half of the song, however, which drives emotions to an all-time high. As I stated earlier, there is a power and elegance of the album and it is clearly defined and evident in this track. Dalager ends by asking listeners, “Can you still feel the pull, can you?”
For the most part, Now, Now stick to their comfort zone with the indie melodies and alt-rock instrumentals. However, there is an undeniable uniqueness about the trio that shines through in Threads which cannot truly be expressed with words alone. Every now and then, the stars align for a band or artist. Words fall into place. Melodies and rhythms just seem to click. That is definitely the case we have here.
To conclude: Jess Abbott is from Maine. They toured Europe with Paramore. Threads is magnificent. I’m sold.
For Those Who Like: Eisley’s The Valley – Tegan and Sara’s Sainthood – The Cranberries’ No Need to Argue