Culling its name from a line from a Cure song, the moniker
Nightmare of You isn't the only thing that skips along the
angst-ridden path that Robert Smith, Roddy Frame and
Morrissey blazed. Musically, they could easily be musically
grouped with those artists as well. "I like The Cure and 'Kyoto
Song' is one of my favorite songs by them, but the name of the band
has zero significance," explains frontman Brandon Reilly.
"Overall, I just think the band name has a nice ring to it. It's
quite aesthetic. But, I've always found band names to be boring and
trite. Ours is no exception."
Nightmare of You, however, are neither boring nor trite. With a sound
that harkens the music that came out of Manchester, England during
the late 80s to early 90s, this fourpiece does quite a bang-up job
of mimicking a musical style that hasn't been successfully pulled
off since Morrissey's 1990 solo album, Bona Drag. "In
the grand scheme of things, the Manchester scene was not terribly
influential to me," he counters. "But in the small scheme
of things, very much so. I feel a vague and abstract attachment to
it. I have too many life influences to give credit to one scene, especially
a dead one. Literature is the main influence when it comes to lyrics
- Thomas Hardy, Kurt Vonnegut, Tim O'Brien and
Bob Dylan especially."
Interestingly, Nightmare of You don't hail from the dear old Blighty
but from (horror of horrors) Long Island. "I disown the Long
Island mentality," he says, "not the roots, but the conservative
mentality of it all. It's not terribly cultured and I find myself
blushing when thinking of my childhood town. I only go back to see
my family and play shows."
And even more interestingly, prior to forming Nightmare of You, the
band's members weren't crusties or grebos, sporting baggy trousers
and grooving to ecstacy-induced beats and rhythms. Instead their musical
origins hail from post-punk roots. Formerly of pop punk heroes Movielife,
Reilly recruited fellow Long Islanders guitarist Joseph McCaffrey,
bassist Ryan Heil, and hardcore stalwart Sammy Siegler
(Gorilla Biscuits / Rival Schools / CIV) to form
Nightmare of You - quite a musical departure and one that doesn't
seem as contrived as, say, The Bravery's transformation from
ska punks to dance rock mavens. "First of all, The Bravery used
to be a ska band until make-up and dance music became marketable,"
he barks. "They aren't even a real band."
Truth be told, Nightmare of You comes across much more honest and
sincere in their delivery. With songs that skip along Manchester and
Liverpudlian paths, Nightmare of You has all the trappings of being
a Mancunian tribute band but without the falseness and cheekiness
that comes with bands of that ilk. Instead, they play their songs
straight-faced with honesty at the forefront. Coming off more as an
homage to bands from the British wave of the early 90s (i.e. House
Of Love, New Order, Charlatans UK, Chameleons,
and of course, Moz and crew) than a ripoff, Nightmare of You lifts
the best bits and pieces from Brixton, Brighton, Hull, and Manchester
and tweak it a bit... but not too much. Nightmare of You replaces
anglo landmarks like Leicester Square and Dorney with scenes and locales
of NYC, like Union Square, but the intonation stays the same. From
the opening cut of "The Days Go By Oh So Slow", that would
feel at home on Strangeways, Here We Come, to the Meat Is
Murder shading of "I Want to Be Buried in Your Backyard",
to the unarguably the best track on the album, "My Name Is Trouble"
which sounds like a lost single from The Queen Is Dead.
Like his oft-compared father figure Morrissey, Reilly's vocals and
subject matters blur gender lines with a playful sexual ambiguity
that many bands subscribe to (i.e. The Killers, The Sad Lives of the
Hollywood Lovers, Placebo). "As far as gender blending and bending
goes, I've never given it much thought," he explains. "I've
always been attracted to both sexes. Attraction is attraction. I'm
not gay, straight, bi or tri. I think society has a lot more dire
things to worry about than two men having sex. We should all be ashamed
of ourselves for even thinking about it as an alternative and eccentric
With lyrics that speak of stalkers, trollops, and easy sex in bathrooms,
Nightmare of You could be in danger of becoming a joke unto itself,
but the romantic hue that's cast on songs like "I Want to Be
Buried In Your Backyard" and "In the Bathroom Is Where I
Want You" turns it more towards poignant angst-ridden emotional
dysfunction instead of cheap and wanton sex. "It's easiest to
write what you know," he explains. "At the end of the day,
this album is autobiographical. My lyrical content is my life. I never
thought of it as dysfunctional. I thought everyone thinks and does
what I do. The only difference is I'm just not afraid to talk about
Nightmare Of You
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