Nap Eyes - Thought Rock Fish Scale

by Jim Harris Rating:8 Release Date:2016-02-05

Nap Eyes, a band from Nova Scotia, have put out a beautiful and likeable new album called Thought Rock Fish Scale that, while it spans a mere 34 minutes, invokes many of the strongest storytelling troubadours throughout rock history, including Lou Reed, Bob Dylan, and any number of lofi acoustic art house strummers traversing coffee houses far and wide.  But most of the latter group of modern day alternative folk rock artists just don’t do it as well as Nigel Chapman and company.

Chapman’s monotone, dreary, low key voice immediately brings comparisons to Lou Reed, and the minimal acoustic musical delivery may lend itself more to Inside Llewyn Davis than Bob Dylan, but when this combination of odd but compellingly unique voice blends with strong, concise, and well-executed acoustics, you better be on your game if you don’t want to end up like llewyn Davis.  Mr. Chapman’s band transcends most all of these bands.

Thought Rock Fish Scale is at times exquisite, as on the song, Lions in Chains, that begins with a rocking Velvet Underground misdirection, and then Chapman’s enters in with an almost slow stuttering When I think of my home town… well, then you know you are in the hands of a great songwriter in the making.

Most all of the 8 tracks of this brief album have something compelling about it that adds to its delivery.  The music is understated but still rich as on Stargazer and Alaskan Shake, and the ruminations on such songs as Don’t Be Right and the beautiful last song, Trust, validate the strength of Chapman’s vision.

Nap Eyes should be a band to watch.  But they aren’t perfect.  The edginess and poetic bursts that such songwriters as Dylan and Reed and such contemporaries as Matt Berninger of the National bring to a song is not yet in a Nap Eyes song.  The lyrics are sometimes denser than they need to be and even though the album is only 34 minutes long, there is a bit too much of the same from song to song that might need to be cut differently come their next release.  But Chapman is one of those quality troubadours of rock who would be hard to pass on.

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