Nai Harvest's 'Hairball' Is Worth Treasuring
Sheffield two piece Nai Harvest have never been an outfit who particularly adhere to convention. Their second album, "Hairball", represents not only the band's unique and enticing sound, but more importantly showcases their evolution.
From the vibrant and dreamlike melodies of their debut album 'Whatever' and the reverb laden tones of their formative EP 'Hold Open My Head', to the warm fuzzy chords and the aggressive striking rhythms of "Hairball", it is immediately clear that Ben Thomson's and Lew Currie's ability to defy genre makes 'Hairball' the most colourful and definitive Nai Harvest release to date.
Immediately upon hearing the bright and welcoming notes of their opening track "Spin", I was greeted with the same excitement I felt when I first saw Nai Harvest live in the dingy basement of a pub a few years prior, accompanied by only a handful of fans. In retrospect it's incredible to think that the duo have gone from playing the dilapidated venues of the Sheffield Punk scene, to large scale festivals and even touring in the USA.
Ben Thompson's thick, stomping chords and scorched vocals take the forefront of the album, and are perfectly accompanied by Lew Currie's erratic drum beats, ensuring that 'Hairball' is a boisterous and animated album which pays testament to the pair's incredible ability to continually produce refreshing material. Nowhere is this more prominent than in the album's raw and abrupt tracks such as "Sick on my Heart" and "All the Time", whose meaty riffs and roaring voice exemplify Nai Harvest's ability to fuse punk and emo tendencies, all while retaining their trademark characteristics.
The core strength of the album is its ability to seamlessly navigate between these features and while Nai Harvest may have traded in twinkly and more gentle melodies for booming fuzzy choruses, the band have retained the same raw emotion and power which has always been a staple of their music and lyricism.
Tracks such as "Drinking Bleach" and "Ocean of Madness" preserve Nai Harvest's hazy DIY tones all while harkening back to the powerful raw emotions of previous nineties inspired alternative rock debuted in their EP "Hold Open my Head". Although the track "Buttercups" was released last summer, it's dreamlike buzz provides a satisfying and atmospheric experience which ensures it still lies at the heart of the album.
'Hairball' is an album which screams that Nai Harvest are here to stay. The two piece's ability to smoothly cross borders between genres and refusal to be labelled represents more than anything that Nai Harvest are more than just a staple of the punk scene, but more importantly are shaping its future. Whether you're new to Nai Harvest's music, or a long time fan like myself, then you're sure to find something worth treasuring in 'Hairball'.
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Words by Robert O'Meara