Nightmares For A Week open this split with a delicate build up, reminiscent of Manchester Orchestra’s first full length. It flows straight into a bouncy country-punk-pop number that would fit on any Midwestern blues/punk record you’d care to mention. They move swiftly into the haunting ‘Dead Will Stay’, which will be a sing-a-long crowd pleaser before long.
The third track is another buoyant number that reminds me of now defunct Edinburgh band The Stay Gones in its hopeful sunny sound shrouding bittersweet lyrics about youth and growing up and how awesome/shit that is. My kind of band! The refrain of “This time I’ve gotta get it right” makes me think of all the best times growing up, about 15 minutes before it all turned to shit.
‘Up to the Mountain Heights’ is another country infused pop-punk tune that takes me back to smoking in cold air of a winter night. Top stuff. The last track on the NFAW side reminds me of one of my musical heroes Franz Nicolay. Not just because of the banjo, but because of the real sense of loneliness I get from hearing it. I can smell the air off the mountains listening to this.
After such a peaceful and thoughtful end to the NFAW side of the EP, Banquets kicked my fucking teeth in with a Loved Ones-style pop-punk anthem. ‘Two Feet’ is a lament on mistakes made and the desire to get back to better days that I suspect the singer doesn’t believe even were. In this sense the lyrics are every bit as clever as Green Day circa 1997. The Banquets side of this EP is every inch the spiritual successor to The Menzingers’ 2012 epic On The Impossible Past, mixing just enough in the way of progressions that could be found on AFI’s The Art of Drowning and I love it!
If I can smell the air off the mountains listening to Nightmares For A Week, then I can smell a city street listening to the Banquets side.
The long and short of it is this is an excellent split, with a great sound out of both bands and brilliant songs too. Banquets are more upbeat and straightforward with shades of Loved Ones, Bangers and new wave pop. NFAW are a touch more thoughtful and make the most of the space five tracks afford them to try a lot of cool sounds on one EP, with hints of Manchester Orchestra, Franz Nicolay and bluegrass punks Arliss Nancy evident.
You can pick this record up now on preorder from the No Sleep Records site at $12. That’s only £7.16 just now! Go grab it and do yourself a favour.
– Andy Chainsaw