Only a few years ago, The Nudes sounded like a completely different band from their current iteration. A large part of that is thanks to the fact that they were a smaller unit with different personnel but, after several shifts, the band’s found a new level of confidence and a lineup that plays to their strengths. Their upcoming EP, Nowhere To Be, will be the full lineup’s first official release following a demo compilation that touched on everything the band’s done since forming several years ago.
The band’s latest drummer, celebrated artist and A Year’s Worth of Memories contributor Phil McAndrew, was kind enough to patch along the forthcoming EP’s title track a few days ago and it quietly (and unexpectedly) knocked me flat. Having been familiar with The Nudes‘ past work (largely in part to McAndrew’s recommendations before he was drafted into the band), “Nowhere To Be” seemed as if it was plucked from a separate universe.
Light and airy but played with a clear-eyed determination that grounds the whole affair, “Nowhere To Be” scans like a host of legitimately great powerpop acts (Alvvays, every Run For Cover-affiliated band from Sweden, etc.) while maintaining its own identity. It’s a miraculous track that takes aim at a handful of acute targets and hits them with the kind of beautiful flourishes that go a long ways in ensuring that “Nowhere To Be” isn’t just memorable but maintains an impressive longevity.
At a precise two-and-a-half minutes, “Nowhere To Be” both announces the band’s new era and capitalizes on its beaten, weary, and strangely hopeful narrative in an impressive amount of time. A heavenly chorus elevates the gentle, atmospheric verses with a shy smile and a backwards glance. Nearly everything in “Nowhere To Be” complements and enhances all of the song’s most minute aspects; from the incredibly impressive dynamics to the skyward riffing to the effective, minimalist rhythm section work to the captivating vocal performance, each segment combines into small grace notes of breathtaking perfection.
Easily one of 2016’s most unexpectedly triumphant moments, “Nowhere To Be” is a song worth discussing for several years to come. If the rest of the EP can live up to what The Nudes have accomplished here, it should stand as one of this year’s finest releases. Give this one all of the time, investment, and love it deserves.
Listen to “Nowhere To Be” below and keep an eye on both Spit Fam Tapes for the EP’s cassette run and this site for more details on The Nudes going into the future.