Nice Try feel warm and lived in — the band crafts songs about heartache and desperation and anguish that still sound bubbly and inviting, that make you want to spend time with them, licking old wounds and stumbling into new ones. The Bloomington, Indiana duo got their start with 2013’s convinced, and their self-titled follow-up is filled with the same sort of heart-on-sleeve punk that’s simple and subtle and subtly infectious. Nice Try is in a similar lane to recent fare like All Dogs, Frankie Cosmos, Free Cake For Every Creature, and other contemporaries who look to K Records for inspiration, but the duo packs in a whole lot of their own pitch-perfectly executed charm.
There’s an emotional gut-punch in Madeline Robinson’s every word. If there’s one turn of phrase that sums up the entire album, it’s “What I want and what I need, so consistently such different things/ What you say versus what you do makes it so hard to trust you,” which comes in the middle of a song called “Patience” that sounds as anxious and impatient as can be. Robinson spends each song navigating the complexities of relationships, the electricity of making a connection, how change comes in fits and starts and never at the most convenient time. On “No Big Deal,” she begs: “Take me to a life without the pressure to feel like nothing’s a big deal.”
Nice Try is an album of self-discovery, emphasis on the self. These songs don’t rush to conclusions; they’re okay with taking time. “I’m eternally changing my mind, but no longer feel like I have to decide,” she concludes on “Magical Thinking.” The last line on the record: “Your charm is hard to deny, but I can see right through you. So I can live without you.” It’s an album that relishes in the incongruences of life — that’s a powerful notion, and Nice Try use it to great effect. Listen to the whole album below.