I usually follow Sonic Unyon Records to catch up on Canada’s best upcoming indie rock bands, but somehow North Carolina’s The Nein got to slip their debut EP onto the label’s release schedule. It’s definitely a good thing, since the band shows all sorts of promise. The disc’s best song, “War is on the Stereo,” is a great minimalist march that gains momentum as it plods along. The tape manipulation that affects the woozy intro to “House Atreides” is pretty choice, too. The band is adept at channeling the groove, as most of their songs come across like a Cure borne of angular post-disco rather than post-punk. Unfortunately, the danceable anthems turn a little stale since the group feels unnecessarily compelled to give every track its turn on the dancefloor, even if it was destined for sedentary ambience.
Despite the band’s great strides to fight linearity, they get mired in the same dance-punk, dark-wave-isms of their peers. Intended or not, I can hear remnants of Joy Division, the subtle nimbleness of Interpol, even echoes of The Rapture and other derivative fodder. To The Nein’s credit, they’re easily within reach of indie rock’s first tier, and their upcoming full-length should provide them with the opportunity to redirect, refine and come up with a truly distinguishing sound.
Sonic Unyon: www.sonicunyon.com