NAP EYES – ” Thought Rock Fish Scale “

Posted: February 5, 2016 in MUSIC
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Nap Eyes Made The Year’s First Classic Indie Rock Album

Nap Eyes moves from psych-riffs to astrophysicists; from Rubaiyatic poetry to punctuated bass, in easy fluid motions. Chapman’s calm, steady voice can be as pained as Bob Dylan’s, and his lyrics can be just as profound
Recorded live to tape, with no overdubs, on the North Shore of Nova Scotia, Nap Eyes‘ quietly contemplative sophomore record refines and elaborates their debut, offering an airier, more spacious second chapter, a bracing blast of bright oceanic sunshine after the moonlit alleys of ‘Whine of the Mystic’. But the briny, cold Atlantic roils beneath these exquisite, literate guitar pop songs, posing riddles about friendship, faith, mortality, and self-doubt. Like all of their recordings to date, the album is framed by a set of severe self-imposed strictures: a mere four days to capture as many songs as possible completely live, with no overdubs, to a temperamental old TEAC four-track 1/4″ tape recorder. The result is a document pristine in its intentional imperfections.
After the dark, drunken night of ‘Whine of the Mystic’ (recorded nocturnally in Montreal), ‘Thought Rock Fish Scale’ brings blinding sunlight and blue horizon to these elemental stories of water, fire, and spirit. Compared with its predecessor, this album is far less concerned with the effects of alcohol–excepting “Click Clack,” with its admission that “Sometimes, drinking, I feel so happy but then / I can’t remember why … Sometimes, drinking, I don’t know my best friend for my best friend”–and more concerned with negotiating the mornings after, all the hungover or otherwise creaky, tentative new mornings of a life assembled from discrete days. Nap Eyes are one of the best rock bands in business today, handily spanning the space between Bob Dylan and The Microphones. Nigel Chapman’s songwriting grips like the best of them. A timeless release, already.
Musically, a new delicacy and tautness manifest here as well, a patient willingness to wait; Josh Salter (bass), Seamus Dalton (drums), and Brad Loughead (lead guitar) exhibit consummate restraint. Sonic touchstones remain similar–The Go-Betweens (particularly Robert Forster’s melancholic bite). ‘Thought Rock Fish Scale’ deploys the language of anxiety and self-reflection as a sort of symbolic vernacular. Nap Eyes make soul music, in the sense that their music describes, from a position of uneasy humility, the often mundane maintenance of the fragile human soul….
For fans of The Only Ones/England’s Glory, The Modern Lovers, The Clean, The Verlaines, The Go-Betweens, Bedhead, and all things Lou Reed.
LP With lyrics, color inner sleeve, and download code.

The members of Nap Eyes pick their favourite songs from Thought Rock Fish Scale.

Josh Salter (bass)

I think “Mixer” is the strongest one. The spacing in the music, the narrative, the musicality and interplay between instruments. It is a little jazzier than the rest.

Seamus Dalton (drums)

“Lion In Chains” is crazy. You can really hear the room in these recordings which teleports me back to our little Pictou vacation. A lot of other recordings I’ve done aren’t tied so directly to a time and space for me due to the process being scattered and jazzed out, but this record is a very vivid reminder of a super cool time for me.

Brad Loughead (guitar)

Right now, it’s “Lion in Chains.” I love the laid-back rocking chair feeling, and “Trust” is just an excellent pop song.

Nigel Chapman (guitar/vocals)

I love a lot of the songs. I think I love all of them, but then sometimes I don’t love any of them. But I do love them. They all seem to fit together. They all mean a lot to me.

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