The Naddiks – “Let Go”/”Dolly Rocker” – Singles Review
Let the comparisons begin!
In many ways, I won’t have much choice this time around in writing this review…many things have changed with The Naddiks since last we checked in on them around 2017 with the “RagTop (Yosef Flumeri Remix).” As far as original tunes goes, it dates back even further to January of 2016 when we reviewed “Heart Of Fire” and “Stop.Listen&Love” – and as a music-reviewer…you kinda develop this odd sixth sense that tells ya things are shaking up when it comes to a band’s or artist’s career sometimes. The time in between original tunes is always one of the biggest red-flags to indicate this…the longer it is, in a great many cases, is not always about trying to sort out the material, but trying to find a way to even get to those new songs and keep the creative juices flowing. Sometimes that requires a whole move of location – like Kurt from The Naddiks did in moving to Melbourne, Australia from Canberra. Sometimes it requires even more adjustments, like a lineup change; Joel & Nick left the band in 2016 officially, leaving Kurt to decide whether or not he wanted to carry on with The Naddiks. As it turns out, he did.
And so here we are. Not shying away from the facts as they are, The Naddiks are about to release two singles back-to-back in November/December – one from the old lineup and one from the new. Like I said at the beginning – this is practically an invite to comparison and they’ll have to be ready for that, cause it’ll come, believe me. Every critic and their dog will form some kind of narrative that’ll go into this…and perhaps it’s understandable that we do all comment on this change in direction, sound, location, band lineup this time around – I mean, that’s a hell of a lot of things to change ain’t it? That being said…you gotta imagine the pins & needles of being the old singer versus the new & all that…the anticipation of finding out whether or not people will accept the new sound, or reject it straight away due to some weird underground loyalty or something bizarre like that…could happen I suppose. Point is – there’s really no escaping comparison when you make such significant changes, so kudos to The Naddiks for putting it all right out there and into the open like this with back-to-back releases…you have to assume that they are indeed ready for whatever comments come their way and that they’re ready for this new chapter to begin…one way or the other.
What gets tough is walking that fine line between understanding evolution and not disrespecting what someone has brought to a band in its early stages, you feel me? The last thing I ever want to do is bag on some artist or band that worked with what they had when they had it & did what they could with it. If you read my early reviews on The Naddiks, you’ll read that I had my opinions & perspective on what their lead-singer Joel added to their music; at times, no doubt a great fit, at others, the dude kind of brought a little weirdness & wildness to their sound…sometimes to their benefit, sometimes not. For a band with a pretty savage tendency to rock the fuck right out, you could hear how much of a factor he was up front in The Naddiks and their raw edge…which again, for some, is going to be like finding garage-rock gold…he sings with a real loose live-wire style – for some, maybe not so much, and because of the exact same reasons. So I get it. I’m sure Joel does too. It’s an acquired taste…and like I said, ain’t nothing wrong with that and certainly no disrespect to what he’s accomplished in The Naddiks and helping establish the band’s history. And for what it’s worth, the new single “Let Go” coming out on November 2nd would likely be the best song I’ve heard from this particular lineup to-date – so take that for what it is, it’s worth a victory lap – this lineup went out on a highlight. Ain’t gonna lie of course, Joel still adds that weird edge to the vocals, but that’s part of his style…I felt like progressively through this track as it revealed part after part, he got stronger and stronger in his performance. Tone-wise maybe a bit shaky or choosing a strange path at the very beginning, you can hear him finding his way on the verse – and then when it comes time to execute on the fireworks in the chorus, Joel absolutely detonates in seriously rad ways as the music surges around him. He appeals to me much like Brian Burns did when he replaced Edwin in I Mother Earth…there’s a similar untamed wildness in him that gets right in your face like the results of what happens when you back an animal into a corner; he attacks the mic and makes sure you remember the moment forevermore. Loved the guitars from the rhythm to the lead on this cut, bass is solid, drums have great tone…overall, it’s a really gripping cut once “Let Go” finds its most solid moments…I’d say from the moment the intro is finished really that they’re on firm ground here. Again, I dig that kind of unrestrained way that Joel does his thang…there’s a ton of artistic merit in the way he performs and when he wants to unleash the beast and amp-up the energy to the next-level, “Let Go” is a perfect reminder that he’s more than capable. Great breakdown & bring-back just past the second minute…all-in-all, “Let Go” is quite the powerful tune and sonic experience…the kind of song that makes you crave more of that energy, making it perhaps even harder to say goodbye to the old lineup for some out there as The Naddiks head into this next phase of the band’s evolution & career.
Time will tell of course. Starting November 2nd when they release “Let Go” they enter the court of public opinion…and in my opinion, they can hold their heads up high based on what they’ve achieved in the early years, be proud of that, and collectively be stoked that the band lives on through its new form. They’ll be back again in the court of public opinion right around the corner on December 2nd when The Naddiks release their brand-new single/sound/singer on “Dolly Rocker.” And in many ways, we’ve got a switch so dramatically noticeable between these two songs it’s like the difference between listening to Nirvana’s Bleach and Nevermind…it’s a logical progression for The Naddiks sound you know & love – but decidedly more accessible to many degrees. Little is known about the newly formed lineup thus far or been revealed on the internet yet, but there’s no doubt that in terms of appealing to the masses out there, I’d imagine many people are going to feel like The Naddiks have just taken a huge step forward. With the new singer on their upcoming single ”Dolly Rocker,” you get a more controlled & professional approach to the microphone, one that oozes personality and slick-rock sound, still keeping that wildness of The Naddiks as a main ingredient to his style, but smoothing out the band’s overall results with his performance. If we’re talking about mainstreamin’ it or radio-potential, then of course all of this ends up leading to a shorter path towards the limelight for The Naddiks. Put it to you this way…I’m not going to argue that they’re recreating the wheel here on “Dolly Rocker,” because that’s just not the truth – but they have indeed reinvented The Naddiks sound and made a bold step forward with this newfound level of execution and tightness in the band’s music. What they DO have on their hands here, is a verifiable electrically-charged rock-meets-grunge experience that’ll seriously get you turning up the volume. Personally I might be a bit more partial to the ideas in the music of “Let Go” – but when it comes to the recording, production, performances, and mix – there’s almost no comparison at all, I’d be inclined to support everything that The Naddiks are doing to refine the sound and move forward in their career. “Dolly Rocker” audibly sounds spectacular and there’s probably no argument to be had really – you’ll probably find this to be the best song you’ve heard from The Naddiks to-date…and I wouldn’t blame ya. I’m not losing my mind over the lyrics but I’m not opposed to’em – I think the new singer does a great job of making them a vibrant part of the hooks & the song; if anything, I’m probably a much bigger fan of the verse of this tune than I am the chorus, but mind you, I’m really not complaining about either. That verse is just a real fierce piece of writing…the way the new dude sings it has real flair & personality, and when he gets flowing in the two-lines prior to the chorus, has some seriously cool moments you’ll dig for the way he chooses to sing’em. Guitars have their best moments in the solo of this cut – they’re bang-on for the whole tune; like I said, it’s got that grunge-inclined couple chords & let’er rip style of writing for the most part, but they really combat any doubters by adding seriously remarkable instrumentation in the latter half of this tune. Drums are killer on this cut as well…which I believe were added by their band-manager Richard, or at the very least the percussion was…in any event, things sound wicked in that department – we’re all aces on the throne when it comes to this cut. The drums are inventive, innovative, rhythmically-inclined, and hard hitting…they sound great and keep the energy flowing with major strength. And in terms of the couple-chord thing, it ain’t always a bad idea – especially not when you’re looking to really ROCK like this – it allows the band to be as tight as tight can be in the way they move through “Dolly Rocker” together, which makes a huge impact when comparing The Naddiks then and now. That’s not necessarily a result of the lineup change so much as it is an indication of more mature decisions in the direction of the sound & songwriting as they get older. Essentially, there’s more focus on every aspect of “Dolly Rocker” than you’ve heard from The Naddiks so far in their existence in any form; whatever has led them to that, good on’em…people will respond to this tune and have no hesitation in testing out the threshold of their stereo volume as a result. Beyond all things, “Dolly Rocker” verifiably proves that you don’t actually need to recreate the wheel to have a damn great time…sometimes you just wanna track you can turn up right up to the rafters, rock the fuck out and get right into the groove – and you can absolutely do that with this new cut from The Naddiks.
Stoked for them when it comes right down to it. Evolution in our art isn’t something we always choose, isn’t always something we want, and sometimes not even something we can ever control…sometimes circumstances just are what they are, and that natural progression or shift takes place whether we’d like it to or not. I think all you can really hope for in a situation like The Naddiks found themselves in, is that you somehow land on the right side of the fence and maintain that inspiration enough to WANT to keep going…and I’d suspect the reaction to “Dolly Rocker” is going to send this band into some of their most creative and wild years to come. They’ve definitely come out of this whole switching of sounds, singers, and players with a shiny new single-worthy tune and a revitalized approach to their amped-up Rock style…and I’d imagine that at the end of the day, the court of public opinion will rule quite favorably on the moves that they’ve made. Much more to come from The Naddiks I’d be willing to bet…they are after all, just getting started, all over again.
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