Nationale Blue

A Different Kind of Listening

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Complexity doesn't have to be a bad thing. Boston's Nationale Blue is an incredibly talented trio that seamlessly merges technical instrumentals à la King Crimson and a number of other prog metal pioneers with the passion and chaos of indie acts like Don Caballero and the Van Pelt (with whom the group shares some startling vocal similarities). The majority of the disc is free of vocals, which makes room for some dizzying passages that range from pounding, low-end rhythms to synthesizer experiments to mind-bendingly mathy variations in tempo. While the vocals certainly bear a striking resemblance to Chris Leo's early days, they fit perfectly with the jerky playing and add a sincere urgency to the whole effort. Nationale Blue also manages to pull off the difficult feat of creating a varied record that actually works in all of its many musical incarnations, and while the production of Converge's Kurt Ballou is definitely a factor, so is the strong songwriting of this relatively young outfit. If this can make its way to the starving ears who miss the days when indie rock had true force and energy, Nationale Blue should find itself with a pretty strong fan base.

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