I unfairly judged Nai Harvest at first glance. Band name: wacky. Album title: hip self-awareness masquerading an average sounding record. Genre: Emo. Oh emo, we meet again old foe. A style birthed by ex-punks, killed by its own apathy, briefly reanimated by fringed goths, then killed and mounted by Tumblr. Why me? Can't Lew go back to Grazes and we can all act liked this never happened? How the hell did emo even get to Sheffield?!
However, with my sense of duty overriding any personal quibbles, I pressed on and listened. For their relative newness, Nai Harvest have done a great job of crafting a sound out of myriad influences, melded with an upbeat and earnest approach. Take the album's opener; it really sums up the entire record, which is fitting for a title track. Despite being a duo, the pair play intricately with a richness a typical full band would envy. The lyrical matter is as sentimental as you'd expect, but is brought across warmly by Ben's raw, singalong inducing vocals. Over the course of a few minutes, more genres and bands come to mind than you'd originally expect: math and post-rock, Midwest tones and more than a trace of catchy pop-punk a la Lifetime or, for those who are new here, Basement. The lattermost comparison seems most apt when considering a track like "Sitcom Fade-in." Instrumentally, it effectively channels the loud-soft dynamic, but even the smallest details are great to hear out for; from Lew's rim shots in the intro to the riff in the ending seconds. However, despite intricacies, the songs largely follow the same pattern. Upbeat, tech-affected guitar combined with desperate, uplifting vocals, followed by a calm moment to let the band shine instrumentally. For that reason alone, it's hard to pick out standout tracks, as they all are effective at what they do and stick together nicely. This can be heard in the pensive "Twin Tweaks," where the production really shines with the lush guitar tones and crisp drum tracks, to the gang vocals and expressive “woo!” of "Distance, etc."
However, despite having an established sound, there's plenty of room for manoeuvre, such as varying song structures or diversifying Ben's vocals. Despite its heartfelt nature, it can be wearing over an entire record, as short as it is (just under half an hour). Revolutionise emo with scat singing/spoken word/call and response…or die wondering. While I'll never be able to fully forgive emo for making me look like an idiot on MySpace a while back, Nai Harvest have helped heal the wounds with the realisation that two northern lads have bigger heartaches than I do. For that, and an enjoyable album to boot, they deserve your time and attention. Released by Pinky Swear Records, backers of bands as noted as Your Demise and Conviction, and with a U.S. tour mooted, Whatever could be the makings, or apotheosis, of another good era in emo.
Posted Feb. 16, 2016, 1:37 p.m.
Welcome to our almost daily quickie Q&A feature: One Question Interviews. Follow us at facebook & twitter and we'll post an interview four days each week, typically every Monday-Thursday ...
Posted Aug. 31, 2014, 8:44 a.m.
Dads, set to release I'll Be the Tornado in October (6131 Records), have announced a North American tour with support from Tiny Moving Parts, Nai Harvest, and Choir Vandals ...
Posted Dec. 29, 2013, 10:04 a.m.
Sheffield two-piece band Nai Harvest, who released Whatever in 2013, have announced a new 7" in March titled Hold Open My Head. The new EP will release via Topshelf/Dog ...
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