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Nai Harvest - 'Hairball'

by DavidBeech
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on 21 April 2015 in Albums & EPs
Record Label Topshelf Records
Release date April 27th 2015
Rating 9/10

Arriving on the ebb and flow of the emo revival movement in 2011, Sheffield's Nai Harvest quickly asserted themselves as a British alternative to the wave of acts that began making their way across the Atlantic at the time. Just as quickly however, the band sought to distance themselves from such labelling, though perhaps somewhat ironically given that they later signed to Topshelf Records. Pigeon-holing aside though, Nai Harvest's latest offering Hairball feels like a logical step after last year's Hold Open My Head, and unsurprisingly, puts even more distance between them and their debut. Sharing far more in common with the likes of Husker Du or The Replacements than any of their previous releases, Hairball is a blistering example of how to do the notorious second album right. Opener 'Spin' sets the prevailing tone of the record, as blissful pop melodies are offset by a clattering punk urgency and almost-caustic layers of pervasive fuzz. Even as the speed relents a little on 'Drinking Bleach', the fuzz seeps in to the track insidiously; the effect on the production by its conclusion similar to the effect on your stomach, should you take singer Ben Thompson up on his offer. It isn't all abrasive and snotty garage punk though, 'Ocean of Madness' is a later track built around rich and woozy hooks that swim in to your psyche, lodging themselves their indefinitely whilst penultimate track 'Gimme Gimme' follows on in a similar manner. Though lyrically Nai Harvest still cover familiar ground, wearing their hearts truly on their sleeves, Hairball is a definite departure from the band's roots, taking their cues instead from '80s indie and '90s grunge. It's a bold step, though perhaps one that won't be all that surprising for those who have followed the band since their inception, more importantly however, it's a step that ultimately allows the band to reach far more people than their debut ever did.


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