Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Nakatomi Plaza

Nakatomi Plaza - Unsettled - Self-Released

This is a limited "tour edition" of Nakatomi Plaza's album Unsettled which still has yet to see an "official" release. Produced by J. Robbins of Jawbox fame and recorded in the band's hometown of New York City, this album offers up a nice plate of musical indulgence for anyone into sincere music.

And when I say sincere, I mean that this band obviously cares about more than just what immediately affects them as people. They caertainly are willing to stick their necks out there and say something when nobody else will, but have a knack on this album for not sounding self-righteous or cynical about it (ie. Bono) Opening track "A Manifest destiny Grows in Brooklyn" covers the topic of America's far from perfect dealings with Native Americans with lines like "Aren't we brave to setlle the wasteland?/convince ourselves and history will follow" Tackling the topic of American capitalism is "Not Hopeless", the systematic indentity-stripping of corporations is attacked in "Calling All Cars", and the list goes on...

Taking lyrical stands like this is quite an accomplishment on any record, and the frequency with which Nakatomi Plaza criticizes and points out the ills of our culture is staggering. It is only fitting that such stirring lyrics are accompanied by well-honed sonic backdrops for their soapboxing. With more dissonance than you can shake a stick at, Nakatomi Plaza has a style I would describe as "dischordant/spacey/melodic/post-punk" And because I'm sure you will get nothing out of that description, think of melodic guitars at the same time being dischordant. Add tight-fitting vocal melodies and sprinkle in the occasional scream, then sprinkle in some prog rock song structuring, and you may begin to get a feel for the band's sound.

Overall, this album is very ambitious and the band pull off a very pleasing record to listen to, and one that still compels after repeated listens. Like a can-opener with a pair of fuzzy dice hanging from the handle, Nakatomi Plaza gives you an abrasive edge acompanied by lush melody and great songwriting skills. Be sure to catch them when they come steamrolling through your town!


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