The Nest Itself ~ (In) constant search

The Nest ItselfWhile post-rock continues to be on the wane in the Northern Hemisphere, it seems to be on the rise in the Southern Hemisphere.  Take for example the new debut album from Melbourne’s The Nest Itself, a follow-up to the quintet’s well-received EP.  While the title might imply that life itself is a constant search, it may also mean that the band has been in a state of constant search, all leading up to this moment.

How is a new post-rock band to make a name for itself when the territory has been so well trod?  The best way is to bring something original to the table, and for The Nest Itself, the strength is in creative transitions.  There’s a moment in almost every track in which everything changes.  In “on rare occasions”, the shift comes at 2:11, as the fuzz recedes, a melodic drum passage begins to repeat and the listener becomes aware of the speaker switching properties of the guitars.  (The use of stereo is noteworthy throughout the album; check the beginning of “antisocial smoker” for its most effective use.)  On the Clapton-esque “the chill and the dank hollow”, a bluesy lead is supported by languid bass until the piano surges forward at the beginning of the third minute like a barroom musician watching a $20 tip being placed in the glass.  The tempo lifts to an enormous degree before dropping back slightly, only to cede control to military drums in the closing minute.  Similar transitions are found across the disc, a welcome unpredictability that creates curiosity in every corner.  Even the piano interlude “unfix” surprises by including the sounds of conversation and traffic, making one wonder where it was recorded.  As the pianist pushes toward the discordant, all extraneous sounds cease for a stretch, rushing back at the end as if acclimated.

“only temporary” and “wax” serve as parables; the tracks slowly uncurl, then attack.  By taking two years to record its debut, The Nest Itself has followed the same template.  Nothing here seems rushed; the combination of smart composition and precise playing leads one to believe that every aspect was carefully mapped out.  One suspects that the concert experience might produce the illusion of being unbridled, despite being controlled.  Such restraint is as rare in the industry as it is in people.  The ability to harness strong emotion through keen intellect is both admirable and appealing.  We hope this band does well; its ability to cross rock genres sets it up for larger success.  (Richard Allen)

Available here

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