Nationale's self-titled debut EP boasts six songs of hard-hitting indie rock. All of the elements you'd expect -- angular, dueling melodic guitars, scream/speak vocals performed by two equally enthusiastic singers, and lovingly recorded basement-quality production -- are represented here in spades. Occasionally, Nationale's formulaic approach works against them, especially in the two singers' seeming reluctance to actually sing. Guitarist/singer Alex Achen shouts out slyly disguised self-deprecating barbs that, while succeeding lyrically, are sometimes obscured by his sarcastically sloppy delivery. On the whole, however, Nationale is wary enough of the pitfalls that pock the genre of music they play, even on their debut release, to avoid them by keeping the songs punchy and catchy. Released by tiny St. Paul indie imprint Fighting Electric, this is the kind of homespun CD that's purchased after a hot set by a newly discovered local band at a favorite punk rock dive bar -- the kind that's reverently memorized by new fans who'll be screaming along to the songs at the band's next show.
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AllMusic Review by Bryan Carroll