Bloody Nora! How’d you sum your first impressions of an album like this? It’s just so full of music that I don’t know where to start. In fact, if the vague impetus behind NAF was initially to convey that first-listen feeling of your newly purchased piece of plastic, this particular entry is going to suck. It’s an impossible task (in fact if you want a genuine metaphor for what your first listen of this album does to your head, skip on down to the video below, that’s all you really need to know).
Possibly best begin with what’s not, eh? After hearing single, Two Weeks, on the radio and catching their performance on Later… I was expecting something a bit poppy, left field, sure, maybe a tad on the eccentric side, but – without going anywhere near the kinder-egg encapsulation of something like The Hoosiers – definitely poppy.
It’s not. Or rather Two Weeks is about as pop-song oriented as it gets. Without wishing to denigrate the single – I think it’s a great wee song – the rest of album is simply less interested in melodic hooks, concerning itself instead with exploring what can be done by four guys with some guitars, drums, pianos, strings and, most of all, the human voice. I could listen to this for the next month (and believe me, I will be) and still not run out of new textures to appreciate, new facets to wonder over. If you’re looking for reference points I’d toss up Fleet Foxes, Brian Wilson, The Decemberists, Bon Iver, but that just reflects my recent listening and doesn’t even scratch how varied, knowledgable, self-confident and adventurous this collection of music is.
And that final song, Foreground, might actually be genius.