Nai Harvest’s evolution has been rapid and rhapsodic. Ben Thompson and Lew Currie started out making mathy emo as university kids on 2013 debut Whatever, streamlined their twiddly American Football riffs into sludgy power chords for 2014’s tremendous Hold Open My Head EP, and boldly forged into brightly chiming ’90s pop-rock on last year’s “Buttercup” single. Now that their heavily anticipated sophomore full-length Hairball has arrived, the metamorphosis continues: Nai Harvest have never sounded more like themselves.
Hairball’s sound belies its scraggly, disgusting name. Every track is a machine powered by crisp backbeat and pristine guitars. Thompson’s vocal style has grown more assured, his commanding melodic drone occasionally veering into wild hoots and hollers. Currie continues to expand his arsenal, too, from the flurry of percussion that powers “Sick On My Heart” to that playful tambourine on opener “Spin.” The subtly gorgeous guitar progressions are a reminder of why we named them a Band To Watch in the first place.
The individual songs are gems that reveal more and more beauty as you approach them from different angles, but their combined effect is greater. Yes, the ’90s still hang heavily over Nai Harvest — Teenage Fanclub, the Lemonheads, and even Oasis come to mind — but more than ever, this band elicits a breathless feeling of the here and now. So here and now, jump into one of the best albums of 2015. Stream Hairball below, a full two weeks before its release date.
Nai Harvest are heading out on tour in the UK this week:
04/16 Cardiff, Wales @ Club Ifor Bach
04/17 London, England @ Birthdays
04/18 Brighton, England @ Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar
04/19 Nottingham, England @ Bodega Social Club
04/20 Birmingham, England @ The Oobleck
04/21 Glasgow, Scotland @ Broadcast
04/22 Manchester, England @ Soup Kitchen
04/23 Leeds, England @ Brudenell Social Club
04/24 Sheffield, England @ The Harley