One look at the band name Nodzzz and you can get some idea of what you’re in for. There’s something of Wavves in there, but the stuttered z’s are a little sillier, a little goofier, a little more approachable. The San Fransisco jangle-masters prove to be just that, their sound riding the indie pop waves, but without that same edge or personality. Guitarist/singers Sean Paul Presley and Anthony Atlas, and drummer Brian Girgus produce quick bursts of sunny, effortless power-pop that sometimes fails to stick out for very long.
Now, four years after their breakout with “I Don’t Wanna (Smoke Marijuana)” Nodzzz are making their debut for hip West coast label Woodsist. The resulting album, Innings, turns out to be the most prominent and longest (14 tracks clocking in at a brief 23 minutes) release of the band’s career. The dual guitars and lack of bass show up right away in a shiny, insistent track called “Always Make Your Bed”, nasally vocals skimming over the top. “I’m Not a Wanderer” follows, the goofy wordless vocal passages up front, and the scratchy, feedback-breathing buried in the back. “Fear of Advice” slows things down temporarily before yet another shout-the-title-out chorus. The brief flash of harmonica that bursts into the song keeps things from turning entirely stale.
Throughout, the recipe is head-smackingly simple. “Time (What’s It Going To Do?)” adds an acoustic, surfy element, but the shout-along, almost entrancing simplicity is always the key to the mix. While there are some hooks, some melodies that you’ll be sure to nod and sing along with, but the fact that the same kind of song drops in time and time again. Nodzzz are best in small doses, their tooth-achingly sweet indie pop causing some trouble after more than a few tracks in a row. Too many songs sound too similar, and that use of “effortless” at the beginning proves to be a deal-breaker.