Release Date: Jul 10, 2015
Record label: Paradise of Bachelors
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Rock
The first thing Nap Eyes deserve credit for is the aesthetic coherency. I’m thinking about the cover art, the production, and the lyrical content. I like the ironic interplay between the phrase Whine of the Mystic and the computer-rendered vases with little mixed-emotion smiley faces on them. I like how 'whine' isn’t the type of romantic/bucolic word you might think it was at first glance.
Nigel Chapman is not the first guy to play on the rich homophony between "wine" and "whine"— both can help people loosen up a bit, but they’re also physically intolerable in excess. In all likelihood, Chapman is the first guy to use it in the context of an Omar Khayyam text. Whine of the Mystic is a necessarily dense title for a band like Nap Eyes, its multitudes containing additional multitudes.
On their debut album Whine of the Mystic, Canadian quartet Nap Eyes straddle the line between scrappy, dusty Americana songcraft and rambling Velvet Underground-inspired indie rock built on flashing guitars and songwriter Nigel Chapman's drawled vocals. Alternating between long, happily meandering tracks that allow the band to stretch out and the guitars to dance around each other and short, snappy songs that deliver neat, easy-to-digest hooks, the album really takes off when they blend the two approaches into something murkily catchy. The opening "Dark Creedence" starts the album off on a high point with darkly chiming guitars, insistent drums, and a vocal melody that twists and turns; "No Fear of Hellfire" ends it with a steadily driving beat, tremolo-heavy guitars, and some laconically appealing singing from Chapman.
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