Heck No, Nancy
Near Mint Records
Release Date: September 18, 2015
There’s an elusive head space where credible indie rock and pop songs come together. It’s something few people ever find. A place where the music has enough creativity and verve to warrant the respect of the snootiest critic while at the same time has the tasty pop hooks that anyone regardless of their scene affiliation can respect and enjoy. With Heck No, Nancy The Obsessives have managed to carve out a small plot of this space for themselves. This record is equal parts angular post-punk and pop, and it’s a real gem.
To map where The Obsessives are coming from for you takes you back to a time just before the term emo was fully and finally compromised. Trying to think of this from a formulaic recipe, Heck No, Nancy is essentially one part Omaha, one part Chicago, one part DC and one part Mesa, Arizona.
From Omaha The Obsessives have taken the despair of Tim Kasher at his brightest. Heck No, Nancy is no Lover’s Need Lawyers or Black Out, but it’s not far off. Lines like “I'm done living for people besides myself. I'm supposed to have fun. New Year's night makes my toes cold, aching for someone to make me whole.” from “Home” and “You mean everything to me, including bruised knees, not including chipped teeth, not excluding bare feet in grass in spring.” from “Wet Shorts” show that Nicholas Bairatchnyi has experience heartache in the way that all teenagers do.
From Chicago The Obsessives take the noodly picking of the Kinsella brothers. It’s nowhere near as dark as Owen, but the Joan of Arc, Owls and Cap’n Jazz influence is definitely there in Bairatchnyi’s guitar playing. Almost every song features verses that rely heavily on picked guitars that don’t directly translate to these influences but seem to be drawn from them the closest to me.
From DC (and the Macrock scene) it’s the driving post-punk rhythms and droning guitars of Engine Down. Not as smeary as ED, but The Obsessives drive with the same train-like chugging as Demure has at its finest. The choruses of “Daisy” and “Sprawling” show this influence.
From Arizona The Obsessives have the ability to create a dark pop song that is very reminiscent of a band we all fell in love with called Jimmy Eat World. Heck No, Nancy is unpolished in the same ways Static Prevails and Clarity were. There is the potential for something commercially huge here given the right production.
If you can’t tell, this is all high praise for a pair of 18 year olds. I’m going to stop gushing here and leave it to you to go check this record out.
Reviewed by Rob 1340