In the red corner...
There are some bands that lovingly honor bands that influenced
them but come off as a cheap imitation of the original. And there
are some bands who swear up and down that the band who they sound
most like are absolutely not influences. And then theres
Nightmare Of You.
Made up of ex-members of CIV/Rival Schools and
Movielife, they sound less like an American indie-rock/emo
band than a pitch-perfect homage to The Smiths. Named after
a line from The Cures Kyoto Song (A
nightmare of you of death in a pool / gets me up at quarter to
three), these four kids keep all their Smiths-ian trademarks
Johnny Marrs jangly guitars
Odd Morrissey-esque intonations and feminine squeals
Melodramatic polysexual lyrics
and an angst that could encapsulate
a full-years viewing of My So-Called Life.
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 tweaks 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.
It's not without its flaws however, but trying to find one is
quite a task, like the forced Morrissey/Bernard Sumner
yelps that sometimes comes across more comical than appropriate.
But all-in-all, this is, by far, one of the most promising albums
to traipse across my desk in a long time.
- Rey Roldan
And in the blue corner...
First of all, if I were 15 I would love, love, LOVE this album!
I mean, what's not to love!?!? And that Brandon Reilly
is so dreamy; he's all skinny and has that black floppy hair and
eyeliner, oh wow!!!! He makes me want to scream just like he does
in 9 of the 11 songs on this album!!!! Ah, but the sad truth is
I'm not 15, so some of the charm is lost on me. Not all of it,
mind you, but a lot.
Overall, Nightmare Of You has a reasonably engaging sound
with clean guitars, lots of appealing hooks, Brandon's serviceable
voice and an obvious reliance on 80's influences. The Cure,
Morrissey, and I'd say even The Housemartins and
a little New Order are lurking in there, and on the modern
end I was reminded of Hot Hot Heat and The Bravery.
After the first couple of songs, I thought I had stumbled onto
something really interesting, and I was excited to hear more.
Then I heard "Thumbelina," and my enthusiasm began to
wane. The song already has bizarre lyrics, but is made worse by
throwing in a gratuitous sexual reference that was jarring and
kind of gross. Taken together with "Ode To Serotonin"
and "In The Bathroom Is Where I Want You," a picture
of a pretty juvenile group of guys begins to emerge. Although
I did get a laugh from the line "Just to see your body/in
a place so tacky," and "I Want To Be Buried In Your
Backyard" is also amusing as an over-the-top ode to love
that should appeal to the emo boys and girls out there for its
adolescent pining worthy of Goethe's "The Sorrows
of Young Werther." And then there were the yelps. I got used
to it after awhile, but Brandon's high-pitched, fey shrieks in
almost every song are a thoroughly unnecessary addition to the
Bottom line: Nightmare Of You is decent; not awe-inspiring by
any stretch of the imagination, but has its moments. I can't recommend
you go out and spend your hard earned money on it, but if it's
your parents' money, then go for it. It should appeal to teenagers
who can congratulate themselves for recognizing the humor in the
lyrics, but who within a year will wonder why they liked it. Unlike
the classic 80's music it references, this isn't music that will
stand the test of time.
- Heidi Lamer
1. The Days Go By Oh So Slow
2. Dear Scene, I Wish I Were Deaf
4. My Name Is Trouble
5. Why Am I Always Right?
6. I Want To Be Buried In Your Backyard
7. Ode To Serotonin
8. Marry Me
9. In The Bathroom Is Where I Want You
10. The Studded Cinctures
11. Heaven Runs On Oil
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