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Nap Eyes - Thought Rock Fish Scale

  by Erick Mertz

published: 21 / 2 / 2016

Nap Eyes - Thought Rock Fish Scale
Label: Paradise of Bachelors
Format: CD


Disappointing second album from Nova Scotia-based alternative rock outfit, Nap Eyes

Nap Eyes previous album, 'Whine of the Mystic', opens with a track called, 'Dark Credence' formed of a gentle but urgent drumbeat, streaming pop rock guitar line and a gaudy blur of garage goodness. It’s late era Velvet Underground, the song’s lyrics delivered in the worldly, spaced out drowse of Lou Reed, rock’s poet laureate. It’s only a relative few tracks into 'Whine of the Mystic' that makes you feel like the band from Halifax has something to add to the indie, outsider tradition. Now they’ve released their newest, 'Thought Rock Fish Scale' and elegantly drowsy woefully became, well, just tired. Nap Eyes counts as one of the more curious acts to emerge from a bloated indie rock sea in 2015, their re-issue of 'Whine of the Mystic' one of the more understated records out of the great, white north in some time. The guitars were often jangly but robust, their rhythm section a gentle ruckus providing the signature backdrop. It didn’t just sound like earnest, heartfelt bedroom rock; it felt to the core like it. In between the earned moments of bombast, they dallied and played with psychedelic influences and outside sounds. Now with 'Thought Rock Fish Scale' it seems like the backbone has been extracted, leaving a sort of soft, almost intangible sound in its place. Not one of the eight tracks stand out, make me turn my head and crank up the stereo. It’s like the whole production signature was altered to provide platform for the singer part of singer/songwriter. The opener 'Mixer' is at best tepid, a showcase of vocals from Nigel Chapman and while 'Lion in Chains' has a sweet, forlorn feeling at its heart, it is a lead weight on the album’s momentum. It seems like on 'Don’t Be Right' someone told Chapman to go ahead and do his best Reed impression, forgetting that the confessional drone is near impossible to match, let alone better. Scientist by day, Chapman is Nap Eyes’ star and his lyrics are often outstanding, but 'Thought Rock Fish Scale' became something of a manifestation of its title. Too much thought, too much ponder, too many statements to make an actual statement on its own. After a few listens to 'Thought Rock Fish Scale' I’ve come down some from dislike. The burst of juice on 'Click Clack' may well have fit on the preceding record, but it’s simply not enough. All along while listening to this record, I pulled back to the stony joys of 'Whine of the Mystic'. This isn’t exactly the succession of impact that the band was seeking, but one has to wonder with the light shining on Chapman if it isn’t all part of some brilliant plan.

Track Listing:-
1 Dark Creedence
2 Make Something
3 Tribal Thoughts
4 Delirium and Persecution Paranoia
5 No Man Needs to Care
6 Dreaming Solo
7 The Night of the First Show
8 Oh My Friends
9 No Fear of Hellfire

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