Nevadasky – Nevada Sky – EP Review
JUST IN CASE anyone out there is wondering – if you wanna know how to get my attention instantly, make a record with a song like “Dust” at the beginning of it, will ya? I’ve heard some amazing opening tracks and great gateways into all kinds of albums & EPs out there this year – but in terms of the kind of vibe I personally dig on, “Dust” would definitely be right up there with my favorites without question. Brilliant stuff goin’ on here…like Depeche Mode but with a more melodic & accessible sound overall – kind of akin to something that’s not too distant of a cousin to when Ulrich Schnauss & Longview collaborated for an EP back in the day…music that is ALIVE and vocals that have exceptional energy & equal weight to the emotion on display…that’s what you’re gonna find right here at the beginning of Nevadasky’s brand-new record Nevada Sky. Not too far removed from The Killers either – but a bit more controlled & smooth here if you ask me – there’s just not a single fault to be found in this song; the music is pure perfection, the vocals are an equal rival – and the BALANCE of strengths, is essentially second to none. I ask you dear readers, dear friends – what the heck is not to love here? The depth in a song like “Dust” is undeniable…from the heavy weight in the lyricism, to the uplifting burst of brightness in the chorus…I mean…everything you’re gonna hear sounds inspired, real, present, and right in the moment – you know, just the everyday ingredients that the most awesome music ever is made from. Impressive to say the very least – for five minutes straight, Nevadasky puts you right in the palm of his hand and lets the melody come at you in a pulsing wave of electro-infused sound that can’t help but get noticed by anyone within earshot. Lyrically, “Dust” displays immediately thought-provoking words that are immaculately well-written, and pull you in to listen on yet another level, as if this song needed more reasons for you to listen to it somehow! The vocals…are beyond words if I’m being honest with ya – not only can this guy seriously play, but he can sing with the best of’em too, and it’s an outright pleasure to hear such a flawless performance like you’ll hear on “Dust,” full-stop. Between the cleverness of the harmonies and the perfect choice of effects on another layer of the vocals, and what’s probably a natural layer in there as well…whatever Nevadasky is doing to create the mix of what we hear in the vocals of this first cut, is definitely addictive to the ears, stocked full of textural sound, and I want MORE.
I will fully admit – I think “Dust” is such an absolutely outstanding, single-worthy tune by every measure, that I knew whatever would come next would be fighting an uphill battle for our attention like most songs in a lineup will never experience. Most cuts on any record come after the one before, simple as that…which was probably a decent song, and similar to the one you’re listening to afterwards – but that’s just the thing – most songs aren’t “Dust,” not by a longshot. So yeah – “Nevada Sky” ends up taking a few more spins through the record for that natural effect of such undeniably universal sound calming down a bit so that we can fully absorb the more arguably artistically-inclined sound of the EP’s title-track. For me, this cut did take longer to grow on me, but I suspected it might right from the get go – “Dust” sets an unbelievably high standard that would be nearly impossible to measure up to for any artist or band…it’s the kind of rare cut that only comes along every so often within the creativity we have as human beings – that’s the facts. “Nevada Sky” finds a bit of dusty melodic magic in the chorus that I dig on, and in terms of atmosphere & mood, I really liked the fact that there’s a lot of tangible, sensory sound at work on this cut that makes you genuinely feel like you’ve traveled somewhere else than where you are. The production on this cut gives it a layer of distance that’s really effective as you listen to the guitar notes ring out into the hollow atmosphere. Hard to say where you’d put this cut in terms of genres & whatnot…there’s a whole Americana/Folk thing goin’ on with it…you could just as easily consider it mellow Rock, and almost Post-Punk in many ways too – plus there’s that significant melodic twist in the chorus that adds in a Pop dimension, the cleverness in the breakdown that sends Nevadasky right out into the stratosphere, the acoustic rhythm at its core…you get where I’m going with all this I’m sure – it’s a multi-dimensional sound, which pretty much ends up landing it in the Progressive camp by many definitions. I don’t really worry too much about the labels & all that…call it whatever ya like as far as I’m concerned – it’s a well-written and expertly performed song – hard to complain about something like that at the end of the day; it might not be “Dust,” but as I’ve explained, not many songs are. “Nevada Sky” does everything it can with the time it has within the place it holds in this lineup – I’m not sure how much more we could have asked from Nevadasky than that; it’s still a really great song, it’s just gonna take more spins to make an impression on the ears out there compared to how this EP starts.
“Behind A Closed Door” pretty much makes it clear that you won’t really know what to expect when it comes to the twists & turns of the direction Nevadasky takes the sound & style of the music in throughout this set-list of songs…and it’s probably best you just buckle up, strap in, and take the ride. Lyrically, it’s a really interesting tune. There’s a bit of a Dad-vibe & perspective at work here…ain’t gonna lie about that – it reminds me a lot of the speeches I used to get about living life from my own old man as I tried to lock myself away “Behind A Closed Door” in my teenage years and just listen to some tunes. Which is…hmmm…well it’s exactly the same way that I am now, I’m just hairier I suppose, or at least more grey – so who’s laughing now Dad? Nevadasky takes on the gamers, the smokers, the folks that perhaps could be using their time on this earth to their benefit in much more engaging ways – we all know a few, and they come in all forms. It could be the people that watch TV endlessly for hours, or spend their life staring at their phone…the doors we put up, and hide behind, are actually quite many. This is where Nevadasky starts to remind me a lot of one of my other favorite bands in this amazing independent music-scene we all share together – and that’s skittish – they’re another band that’s got a real gift with words and a penchant for getting all kinds of exploratory with their music & melodies. A track like “Behind A Closed Door” plays around with a positive message at the core of it all, but largely drives the point home by highlighting the opposite through the dangers of wasting our precious time. Or at least that’s what I’m hearing. It’s not too different from the old ‘go play outside’ advice you’ve probably gotten from your own parents at some point in your life – but Nevadasky ain’t wrong either – LIFE is what happens on the other side of that closed door, and that’s ultimately what’s being encouraged in the lyrics of this song. Engaging cut from start to finish if you ask me – mentally, and for the ear candy you’ll find in the musicianship & vocals you’ll discover…which…from what it would seem, is relentless on-point, professional, and executed to the highest of standards on each and every song.
I’d probably put “I’ll Be Fine” up there as the second most accessible cut on the record as far as the masses might be concerned out there, though again, this would be a distant second in comparison to “Dust” – that’s just the reality here. “I’ll Be Fine” is a deeper cut in terms of style, slower in pace, and more surefooted in many ways as it crawls along its melody-line…but in terms of hooks, I think there’s still a ton of noteworthy single potential here – we’ll all remember this particular cut the next time that we hear it & so on. To be crystal clear – after all I’ve heard from the lyrics to the information I’ve read behind the scenes online while listening – I don’t at all think that making single-worthy songs is the sole purpose driving Nevadasky at all here…this is a project that’s got a ton of artistic integrity and different intentions altogether in making music. “I’ll Be Fine” is a kind of close-up examination of whether or not the grass really is greener on the other side, or if the place we’re in has everything and all that we need. I am absolutely in-love with the recording & production on this song…just exceptional, award-worthy stuff if you ask me, and I suppose somebody did – so there…there you have it…I think it’s truly amazing. “I’ll Be Fine” digs right into the push/pull of what we want versus what we need, which I loved – and as far as any cut goes, it’s got my favorite solo on the whole EP. That being said – LISTEN to how brilliantly smooth the slide right back into the verses is here – that right there, is where the magic really is when it comes to “I’ll Be Fine.” Don’t get me wrong – a great chorus is a great chorus – and in many cases, it’ll be enough to get ya by in the court of public opinion almost every time – but when you’ve got a verse designed like this song has & its hooks are every bit as impactful and engaging as you’d find in the main hooks of a tune? I mean…it’s kind of like good-game for us as listeners – how are we supposed to resist? You cannot resist that, and if you tell me you can, I’m telling you I don’t believe you.
“Make time for love before it all fades away” – that’s sage advice right there is what that is folks, pay attention y’all. “The Sands Of Time” deals with exactly what you’d likely expect it would…more or less holding the mirror up to our mortality and offering sincere insight on how you might go about using your time in the wisest of ways. With its eastern-tinged vibes…you feel connected to a mystic wisdom in this song…like Nevadasky is passing on the wisdom of the ages & the Gods above to our regular ol’ everyday ears – and I ain’t gonna lie to ya, I know mine appreciate sentiment like you’ll find within this song. Nevadasky is rooted right into a mythical sound that’s positively inspired, metaphorically & literally – you feel this song gently caress your mind, body, and soul with the purest intentions as you listen. The combination of guitar & background vocals…at least that’s what I think I’m hearing…it could be another stringed instrument of some sort mind you, but Nevadasky will know what I mean – that call & answer moment shared between the two instruments is incredibly mesmerizing when it pops up surrounding the main vocals & verses & whatnot. Amazing really – it’s spellbinding stuff – and all-in-all, I can fully understand why Nevadasky would have chosen to put this particular song out as an advance single from Nevada Sky – it’s pretty much the audible definition of what engaging & compelling sound is all about. LISTEN to how mind-blowing the percussion you’ll hear is! No joke – it’s a master-class in subtle energy – “The Sands Of Time” is part mantra, part insight, and all kinds of an awesome conclusion to this EP. The piano is amazing, the guitars are stunningly hypnotic, the electro elements in the atmosphere surrounding it all, and the experimental approach to the percussion running through the rhythm of this song…it’s just a genuine master-class on how to make music irresistibly interesting, and I am HERE for it. Plus there’s that…probably a synth-horn sound of some kind…whatever the heck that is, is the chef’s kiss y’all…not that this finale needed any additional assistance in standing out with all it already had going for it – but yeah, the cherry on top of the sundae of sound I had been enjoying from the moment I sat down to eat it with my ears. It’s also powerfully conclusive – I felt like the moment I arrived at “The Sands Of Time,” we get cued into this song being the EP’s finale…and I love that about a great record – it really should feel like we’ve reached the end and give us that satisfied feeling that we rode through every minute of an experience and never wanted to break that commitment for so much as a coffee – you get that out of “The Sands Of Time” – it’s as entertaining as enlightened, and a captivating final cut.
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