Though released a few weeks back, the Dandelion Radio Session EP from instrumental band Nanaki is one encounter which should not slip through the net especially if a fan of kaleidoscopic music. That is certainly what the tracks making up the encounter are; varied shimmers and reflections of post and alternative rock through to shoegaze and post-punk, and that is just scratching off the surface layer.
Isle of Man hailing Nanaki is the solo project of Postcode guitarist Mikie Daugherty and the EP, a recording of a session for Mark Whitby’s Dandelion Radio show this past June. The tracks within it re-visit songs from the early days of the band, a project formed in 2002 by guitarist/multi-instrumentalist Daugherty and bassist Emma Ryan. The band’s only album Fashion Is The Enemy Of All Art was released back in 2003 but had a successful re-issue nine years later with Small Bear Records, who also released the Afterlight EP last year and are behind this new proposition. With the band officially splitting in 2008, despite the just mentioned releases, for many the Dandelion Radio Session EP will be an introduction to Nanaki, and a captivating invitation into the creative web of Daugherty.
The EP’s first offering is January Overkill, a chilled and melancholic proposal which simultaneously manages to wrap warm melodies and rich suggestiveness around ears and imagination. Within seconds bass and guitar are on a wonderful ride of repetitious hooks and nagging riffs, an enticing running the whole of the track with crisp beats adding their own persistent bait. Thoughts are swiftly lured into the early days of The Cure but tempered by the caustic air and scuzzy textures which also become involved with the highly provocative narrative, their blackened almost tempestuous nature as compelling as the sultry shimmer and melodic niggling colouring the gripping start.
As irresistible as it is the first piece of pure temptation is soon outshone by the addictive alchemy of Disembryo. Imagine a Twilight Zone version of The Pixies and you have a sense of this superb incitement on body and soul. Again almost mundane yet virulent hooks and riffs coax the appetite whilst tangy sways of guitar bounce off of their dulled surface. It is a glorious seduction only increasing in contagion as more off kilter twists and haunting enterprise leads into a fiery roar of sound, discord, and intensity.
It was probably inevitable that whatever followed would be overshadowed by easily one of the best things heard this year, and certainly Let Me Close My Eyes lacks the same ingenuity and general allure. Nevertheless its mellow romance of melodies and gentle rhythms leading to an increasingly evocative and in turn volatile landscape, has attention and imagination fascinated and discovering new avenues of thought and emotion with every involvement. It is a slow burner against the almost immediate potency of the first two tracks as too is Luthiers (Of Heaven) which follows it. Quaint in sound and enterprise but seemingly carrying a portentous lining to its shadows which is never actually realised, the piece of music reminds of eighties bands like again The Cure as well as Modern English and to a lesser extent The Comsat Angels.
The EP is completed by another major highlight in Candyfloss Deathwish; eight minutes of wonderfully tempestuous emotion and creative majesty. As shown throughout all tracks, Daugherty masterfully creates an individual song in all instruments, from guitar to bass to drums etc., which unite in an ever evolving and involving tapestry of drama and sonic storytelling. Here he turns the burners up to full as the track almost revolts in gripping noise and physical persuasion for an exhausting finale to an outstanding encounter.
The final song also sums up the inspirations in sound and texture which spark the whole Nanaki invention. It is a maelstrom of the styles mentioned previously and more from an artist we can only hope will continue to be an active presence in this guise.
The Dandelion Radio Session EP is available via Small Bear Records and Nanaki’s Bandcamp profile as a name your price download.
Pete RingMaster 09/09/2015
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