The Nein is…you know…one of those bands that, at first, sound like every other band, trying to capture the sound of something never done before. The problem usually sustains from the fact that, it’s all been done, but in the case of The Nein, they’re just edging the line. On, Luxury, the follow-up to 2005’s Wrath of Circuits and their second full-length studio album, The Nein proves that the tried and tested equation of post-punk tempos and over-ecstatic vocals is used and reused for a reason. What makes this band different, though, is their ability to add an eclectic mix of sampling and tape manipulation strewn over electronic ambience for an album that’s, for once, actually original…that is, aside from Mission of Burma, of course.
Opening on the pop-punk number “Burn Construction,” though an alright song to which to bop around in you car, is pretty bland in the grander scheme of the album. Upon hearing it for the first time I sat around for literally an hour wondering where in the hell I’d heard it, and on finding out the answer was, um, nowhere, I just decided to take it as a filler song, the kind of song meant for an iPod commercial or for an epiphany scene in The O.C.
With the title track out of the way, the next four songs seem as if they should go in pairs. “Attitude and Mirrors” and “Sweet Vague” blend together almost as if they’re one and the lyrics, though scant, tell of how everything happens for a reason. “Journalist 1” and “Journalist 2” are the other set of songs that seems as if they were meant to be the same, titles being no exception, and the sonic layers in both prove The Nein know what they’re doing and exactly how they’re doing it.
Another noisy pop track song and we’re up to “Ennino,” a haunting, short, orchestral-like piece, which leads into the album’s standout track “Decollage.” Most of the minor flaws on this album are made up for in this dark resonating piece. Cacophonous drums, a twanging guitar, and scattered laughter make like a trip to Silent Hill (the video game, not the god-awful movie) and back. The dry, raspy vocals kick in about halfway through and remain imminent until the end mark at 4:33.
The next few songs are more dream-like, more surreal, and mostly instrumental. And while the dissonance of these tracks is interesting, they stop right where they should have, and lead you to the infectious, mostly acoustic “Get Up.” “The Future Crumbles” follows, its electronic sound showcasing warbled vocals similar to Elephant 6’s psychedelic eccentrics, The Olivia Tremor Control.
Ending on the screeching complexity of “A Landscape” and being dismissed in laughter gives us a look into the future, not just our own, but The Nein’s as well. Luxury is an album full of so many diverse songs; one can only wander in which direction The Nein will head next. It doesn’t really matter though, I know I’ll stick around to find out.
Gang of Four – Solid Gold
Mixel Pixel – Rainbow Panda
Emperor X – Tectonic Membrane/Thin Strips on an Edgeless Platform