Now, Now are babies, musically speaking. This is their second album to date and their first on Chris Walla’s Trans-Records label. They’re only a few years out of high school, and the faces peering out from their promotional photos suggest angst-laced lyrics of a sort not heard since bands like The Used went out of vogue. This is why, when one actually gets down to the business of pressing “play” on the first track of Threads, what emerges from the speakers is a thrilling surprise.
Now, Now are that rare young band that can shape their unwieldy and powerful emotions into neat little sonic packages, all the better to be listened to and empathized with by their audience. Threads isn’t a concept album exactly, but the themes and motifs stay consistent throughout. “Find a thread to pull/And we can watch it unravel,” lead vocalist Cacie Dalager sings in the haunting prelude “The Pull”, and repeats later on the beat-driven “Thread”. The album is nothing less than an exploration of the push and pull of growing up and growing apart, crafted with the abandon of kids who maybe don’t yet realize how fleeting these moments will be.
The record’s standout track is “But I Do”, if only because it showcases what a punch Dalager’s girlish voice can pack when she wants it to. “I am what you need when you can’t find it somewhere else/I am what you want when you don’t want anything else,” she sings. This concise and cutting line, so characteristic of the noncommittal nature of “casual” young-adult relationships, will haunt you.
Threads is an impressive accomplishment, especially in light of the tender age of Dalager and bandmates Brad Hale and Jess Abbott. In fact, the only sleight against it is that it’s fairly derivative–as much as the band members might deny it, their fast, female vocal-driven sound is, at times, a little reminiscent of trendy pop punk acts like Paramore. But Now, Now have plenty of time, and if they stick together, they may be able to branch out into something truly extraordinary.
Essential Tracks: “But I Do”, “Thread”, and “Wolf”