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Gregory Robson 08/03/09 10:57 AM

Nightmare of You - Infomaniac
 
Nightmare of You- Infomaniac
Record Label: The Bevonshire Label
Release Date: August 4, 2009


Few music critics, and/or consumers, were expecting the self-titled debut from Nightmare of You (NOY), the braintrust of ex-Movielife guitarist Brandon Reilly, to be as engaging as it was. And yet in the fall of 2005, Reilly and his three friends: now-departed drummer Sammy Seigler, guitarist Joe McCaffrey and now-departed bassist Ryan Heil, churned out a near-flawless work of 11, literate, Smiths-inspired offerings. Equal parts creative and caustic, the self-titled was an auspicious effort that marked the start of something very special. Or so we thought. The Long Island quartet followed their shimmering debut with the brief, but sonically different Bang EP, a disc that geared more towards experimentation and improvisation. From the danceable title track to the off-kilter "Herbal Jazz Cigarette," NOY seemed to push the creative boundaries a bit further than most were expecting. So it comes with baited breath, that the group has released their second and long-awaited full-length Infomaniac, without two of its founding members.

The album begins rather half-heartedly with the acoustic simplicity of "Good Morning, Waster," which begins with just Brandon Reilly and a guitar. Halfway through, the song gives way to the full band but ends before it can even make a substantial dent. The all-too-brief finish yields to the chamber-pop of the piano-fueled "Eustacia Vye," in which Reilly, in his own very special way, spins a yarn about a female and their falling-out, imploring her to stop drinking, "Out of fear of sounding dumb, I think you have a drinking problem, out of fear of sounding dumb again, why do you date so many women?," he asks. The song serves as a marked departure from the Brit-pop stylings of the debut and the 80s-infused leanings of the Bang EP. While the progression towards chamber pop is noble and even mildly aurally pleasing, "Eustacia Vye" doesn't exactly sound like Nightmare of You's forte.

Third track, "I Think I'm Getting Older," is a self-indulgent and whiny mess that is thankfully backed up by the engaging, "Someday, But Not Today." Halfway through though, the guitars on "Someday, Not Today," fall brittle and the entire effort gets lost in the fog. The vernal and rousing "Hey Sweetheart" marks a return to form and has all the trappings of what made NOY such a favorite a few years back: Reilly's stuttering of "don't take it so ha-ah-ha-ah-hard," a candy-coated chorus, and some rather playful guitar tones. And then almost predictably, the album sags again as the barely-felt horns on the funky "Experimental Bed," do little to buttress this awkward and pragmatic ditty. The gritty protest anthem "Amsterdam," in which he sings of "moving myself to Amsterdam in detest of a futile war," gets things moving in the right direction, even if Reilly's voice appears to buckle under the weight of the sonic pressure, and almost sounds as if he's being drowned out.

The laundry list of problems are only compounded by the throwaway "Gavi," and the lack of grit or zest in the album's second half, which is comprised of mostly wailing ballads. Of the last five, only the country shuffle "A Pair of Blue Eyes," and the saturnine penultimate track "Please Don't Answer Me " are truly worth recommending. Even the candid "Tell Me When It's Over," starts off promising but collapses upon itself. The album closes with the snarly instrumental "Goodnight, Devil," which is an inventive way to close out a rather lackluster disc.

It is at this point that one raises the question: What the heck has happened to Nightmare of You? The same band that put together 11 consecutive can't miss songs on the 2005 self-titled have now thrown together a disheveled mess that wreaks of poor planning, studio foibles and poor execution. Are the absence of Siegler and Hall really that much of a boon to this band's evolution? Has the time off hurt their momentum? Or is this just an inevitable misstep that was bound to happen. Whatever the reasons might be, everything on Infomaniac feels muted and tame. The drums barely come alive, the guitars are far too airy and light, and even Reilly's vocals appear wayward and overly self-indulgent. Gone are the punch and zest of rousing mid-tempo rockers "I Want To Be Buried In Your Backyard," "The Studded Cinctures," and "The Days Go By Oh So Slow" and the effortless swagger the band radiated on the self-titled. In its place are overwrought pop tunes that feature disinterested crooning, sedate guitars and a bevy of lackluster performances. And so it is, even a band as charming and talented as Nightmare of You is not immune to the ill-fated sophomore slump.

Recommended If You Like Morrissey, Jarvis Cocker, The Cure, butchered chamber-pop


Track Listing1. Good Morning, Waster
2. Eustacia Vye
3. I Think I'm Getting Older
4. Someday, But Not Today*
5. Hey Sweetheart*
6. Experimental Bed
7. Amsterdam
8. Gavi
9. Tell Me When It's Over
10. A Pair of Blue Eyes*
11. Please Don't Answer Me*
12. Goodnight, Devil
*=Recommended Tracks


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Mattylikesfilms 08/03/09 11:09 AM

Brandon was the movielife's guitarist not bassist. The bassist was a sweet d00d named phil who WAS in NOY for a short time in the early days.

Gregory Robson 08/03/09 11:11 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mattylikesfilms (Post 50337342)
Brandon was the movielife's guitarist not bassist. The bassist was a sweet d00d named phil who WAS in NOY for a short time in the early days.

Thank you! Fixed!

Phil507 08/03/09 11:14 AM

Good review. I think M.O.R. is the perfect way to sum up this album. It's not BAD, it's just not MEMORABLE.

Mattylikesfilms 08/03/09 11:17 AM

I like this album a lot, its def. Too airy and easy going but that's only cause we are used to their s/t sound. If this album was released as their debut, I'd garner diff. Views imo. I do prefer their debut and think its super sad that warner (was that the major label that fucked them over?) was one of the main reasons this once promising band took 4 years to release a follow up... now all their steam is out and this album won't revive it I fear...



I do like the album lots! "I think I'm getting older" is one of my favorites!

Mattylikesfilms 08/03/09 11:17 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Gregory Robson (Post 50337562)
Thank you! Fixed!


No worries buddy. What was your favorite song off this album?

zubinmoosa 08/03/09 11:18 AM

I was kind of disappointed with this record... definitely not as good as their debut

perceptrons 08/03/09 11:18 AM

I hope I like this better than Mr. Robson here, as I absolutely adore their debut.

Gregory Robson 08/03/09 11:20 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mattylikesfilms (Post 50338412)
No worries buddy. What was your favorite song off this album?

Either "Someday, but Not Today," or "Please, Don't Answer Me."

Mediocrity 08/03/09 11:25 AM

An excellent review; sums up my opinions about the album almost exactly

ihaveblink 08/03/09 11:25 AM

I pre-ordered this from amazon. It doesn't even have a picture of the album and it's not listed on itunes. Rather lame.

Mattylikesfilms 08/03/09 11:26 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Gregory Robson (Post 50338782)
Either "Someday, but Not Today," or "Please, Don't Answer Me."


Please don't answer me is a great tune! Its sad that it took so long for this record to come out.. I hope they can come out ok

Mattylikesfilms 08/03/09 11:28 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ihaveblink (Post 50339432)
I pre-ordered this from amazon. It doesn't even have a picture of the album and it's not listed on itunes. Rather lame.


I'm only on a sidekick so I can't show you the art but i can assure you its sweet as hell! I like it better than the debut art!


Also itunes suck.. They're always late on shit

Mattylikesfilms 08/03/09 11:43 AM

Oh one last correction... the self titled had 11 tracks not 10.

Sorry I'm being a correction whore.

KidLightning 08/03/09 11:50 AM

Decent review, and I agree with your ultimate conclusion that this is overall a lackluster record, but can you fix one thing for me please?

The phrase "begs the question" does NOT mean "raises the question," it is a logical fallacy wherein a statement is assumed to be true without providing any evidence to back it up, or the "proof" simply being a restatement of the initial premise, e.g. "This band is bad because they suck."

I see this everywhere and it annoys the crap out of me :-p

Also the track with the "dumb" motorbike line was one of the demos they recorded back in the day and I've been waiting to hear a proper version of it for like 5 years now, haha.