Since the indie rock influx of the 21st Century, alternative rock music has been on the back burner, but thankfully, change is coming. With Chad Kroeger too engrossed in his recent nuptials with Avril Lavigne, alternative rock is clear of sabotage and gearing up for redemption. While I do enjoy listening to indie rock bands swoon over their lost lovers with weightless guitar riffs, I much prefer the alternative way of aggressive vocals coupled with heavy instrumentals. All my wishes have come true with the upcoming release from the Long Island outfit, NGHBRS.
The quartet, which consists of Jordan Schneider (drummer), Ian Kenny (vocalist/keyboardist), Tommy Fleischmann (guitarist) ad Eric Vivelo (bassist), will be dropping their debut full-length album, “Twenty One Rooms”, on July 16th. Featuring the singles, “Hold Up Girl” and “1990”, “Twenty One Rooms” is now available for pre-order here.
Following their debut EP, “ Hellomind ”, the forthcoming album fully sheds NGHBRS of being deemed as just another “pop” act in the self-harming rock world. The quartet fortifies their sound by honing in on the “NGHBRS edge”, which rejects the cop out ways of All Time Low to achieve commercial success and embraces the craft of simply creating “good music”. Comprised of 11 tracks, “Twenty One Rooms” has that “edge” firstly and fortunately for their pockets, it has that radio appeal as well.
Led by the two singles, “Hold Up Girl” and “1990”, the songs off “Twenty One Rooms” collectively display the NGHBRS knack for “building up” angst and exuding vocal intonation and instrumental depth in each tune. This “NGHBRS skill” is at a forefront on the track, “We Were Wolves”, which effortlessly flows from start to finish. The track’s powerful chorus avoids cluttering the song with help from Kenny’s immense range and vocal control. “Beneath The Raging Sun” follows a similar “build up”, but it does so in an out-of-the box way. The distinction between the track’s verses and choruses are not as clear as those on “We Were Wolves”. Instead, NGHBRS take an unpredictable path, which positively ends “Beneath The Raging Sun” in all out frenzy.
The foursome tone down the tempo on the songs, “Wake Me In The Morning”, “Screwtape” and “Green River”. Unlike the dialed back beats of indie rock ballads, the slower paced alternative tunes tap into a superficial free feeling and a somber melody, which is void of artistic restraint. With these three tunes, NGHBRS take the vulnerability they exuded on “Hellomind’s” “Spoon Fed” even further with a more obscure sound. The vocals hit a lower register, the lyrics need a more careful listen and the instrumentals are fainter. “Wake Me In The Morning”, “Screwtape” and “Green River” individually radiate an effortless and organic beauty, reaffirming my adoration for slower-paced rock tracks.
My partiality might be with the more “toned down” songs off of “Twenty One Rooms”, but I have zero qualms with listening to the album in its entirety over and over again. Oddly enough, versatility is the glue of their debut, which is quite an achievement for a band’s first full-length. Nickelback needs to look at these guys to understand how to evolve their sound in a single album without forgoing a collective edge.