This is music that defies easy categorization. The band's home label, Paradise of Bachelors, mentioned some obvious touchstones (The Clean, Jonathan Richman, Lou Reed) while describing the sound of Nova Scotia's Nap Eyes but, really, the overall effect is decidedly more complicated.
The band's new album, their second, is called Thought Rock Fish Scale and it's out on Friday via Paradise of Bachelors. It is an album of carefully pitched, sometimes delicately unhinged, music. If "Click Clack" sounds like a whole lot of early New Zealand bands, then "Alaskan Shake" offers up a sort of spin on John Cale's more straightforward material. Nap Eyes - Nigel Chapman (vocals, rhythm guitar), Josh Salter (bass), Seamus Dalton (drums), and Brad Loughead (lead guitar) -- have a sound unlike much else I've heard lately and there's both a real sense of pop-craft here even as it juts up against a more languid musicianship. Things expand in interesting ways and Chapman's vocals add a sort of world-weariness to the cuts that I found quite moving as a listener -- that melodic slow-down and "Could it be me?" refrain near the end of "Roll It" towards the conclusion of Thought Rock Fish Scale. Taken as a whole, this is a superb record that modestly recasts the sort of indie-pop you've known and loved for so long into something else entirely.