I have no idea where I first came across Neondad, but their track ‘Dictator‘ has been sitting on a new music playlist that I’ve been familiarizing myself with for a few weeks. In retrospect, now that I’ve fully listened to their recently released album ‘Off the Humdrum’ on MediaCroco Records a few times, ‘Dictator’ is probably my least favourite of a really interesting debut album, which has some stand out excellent tracks.
Part of a ‘new wave’ of bands coming out of Oulu in Northern Finland, their atmospheric melodic indie ‘rock’ is quite different to other Finnish releases we’ve reviewed recently in NMR, and that’s refreshing. But I also think that it’s a style and sound that would be appreciated here in the UK, and hopefully globally too.
The album starts with the brilliantly titled ‘Maybe its ok to Burn the Candle at Both Ends (to burn to burn)’, with gentle tuneful vocals, and the already made Radiohead comparisons are not too far off the mark. But the album highlight is surely ‘I fired a contract killer, a great song, starting with a simple threatening bass drum and guitars, before a soft guitar link into a haunting soft melodic chorus, which typifies Neondads approach to their songwriting. The evolving and multiple ideas within each song hint at a progressive rock influence, but never in an overstated way.
‘Churchill Smiles’ has a more classic indie rock sound, guitar led and driven forward, and this could be a single release in its own right, but it probably doesn’t typify the Neondad sound. ‘Ghost’ does, and has really grown on me throughout each listening, and the album concludes with ‘Darlings’, an introspective absorbing and gentle track.
Maybe the differences in styles of tracks shows that this is a band still experimenting with their sound, or maybe they have the confidence already to try different things, but it ensures that each song stands out in its own way. There’s certainly huge potential in a band that can create such expansive melodic tracks, ‘I fired a Contract Killer’ goes straight on my list to download from Itunes this weekend, and its great to finish the years reviews with a new band with genuinely fresh ideas, good songs and a character of their own.
Nordic Music Review 7.5/10