April 13, 2017

LP: Aye Nako - Silver Haze

Aye Nako's latest album Silver Haze glitters with poignant songwriting.

Aye Nako’s latest, Silver Haze, is a deep, jarring album that's speckled with bursts of pop. The NYC-based band uses diverse instrumentation to set the tone for their dark-veiled poetic lyrics. Silver Haze is chock full of razor-sharp riffs, dissonance, and feedback to build musical tension that keeps you on your toes. The album begins in a atypically quiet fashion for the band with “We’re Different Now.” It creeps in with warped samples of children talking, screaming, and laughing, as well as psychedelic and unbound guitar sounds wailing in the background. The words are indistinguishable, but their tone of voice is confident and capable. The only phrase that can really be made out is the last echoing sentence, “we’re different now.”

The fiery second track "Sissy" truly kicks off the album, and it features some of Aye Nako’s poignant lyricism. They beautifully utilize vivid metaphors and carefully choose colorful words with lines like “off world, shrill lisp, hormonal bliss.” "Half Dome," the third song on the album, builds tension with a heavy drum roll, and then relieves it with a poppy riff. Aye Nako is at their alliterative best as they reference specific yet vague events that give you a sense of nostalgia for something you’ve never experienced. "Nightcrawler" follows and masterfully switches from the light tone of a moving bassline and spread out finger-picking in the verses to a full wall of fuzzy guitars in the chorus. This song is the first introduction to Aye Nako's use of imagery involving death, ghosts, and hauntings with the line, "My ancient ghosts wait for punishment, exorcism on a billboard stage." "Muck" keeps that theme going with lines like, “These horror films are the dirt that fills my grave.” "Muck" is one of the most powerful songs on the album, addressing self-deprecation and how the harsh opinions of others can begin to taint your own perception of yourself. Aye Nako acknowledges the condescending view of others and sighs, “When you see me, all you see is muck!” It's a cathartic outlet for the tension and anxiety that accompanies the heartbreak when those around you expect you to fail. Aye Nako cries defeatedly, “Who would pay to watch me choke?”

"The Gift of Hell" and "Particle Mace" expertly display Aye Nako's diverse range of sound and mood. "The Gift of Hell" pairs light vocal harmonies with a drone-y vocal melody, while unsettling guitar riffs squeal in the background. "Particle Mace," on the other hand, starts high before bottoming out to lows, much like "Sissy," but the tense parts of this song are in the form of dissonant string picking. "Particle Mace" swirls with imagery of a desolate desert wasteland with talk of “horseshoes,” “wind, ”and “freight trains,” matching the isolation they felt as they “rekindled solitude.” "Maybe She’s Bored With It" wraps up Silver Haze with the brightest riffs and light keys that twinkle in the background. Although, the message of "Maybe She's Bored With It" offers up something more heavy. In the song, Aye Nako tells the story of being lost in the monotony of a dead end job, consumed by disinterest and fed up with going through the motions. The name of the song is a witty play on Maybelline’s ad slogan, “Maybe she’s born with it,” and cleverly contrasts the exhaustion felt by the songwriter. We've all felt this frustration before, but Aye Nako reminds us that these times don't last forever.


Listen to Aye Nako on bandcamp.


Brianna Peterson plays awkward pop punk country in a band called Cooper!, loves everything outdoors and Twin Peaks, and is painfully torn between being a dog or a cat person.