The sound of Nai Harvest has been moulding ever since their emotionally rich first release in ‘Whatever’ to a now far happier breed of indie rock with the kick of grunge that’s surrounding so many upcoming NME bound bands. The trick for Nai Harvest is to brush off the cult underground following and break into a higher realm before the rest of the pack get there first, but time is running out, and ‘Hairball’ doesn’t fully have the edge to pull ahead from the lurking rivals.
Two-piece bands are at the height of their popularity right now with your likes of Royal Blood and Death From Above 1979 still able to make an unbelievable racket as a duo, and likewise Nai Harvest sound impressively large on selected tracks.
‘Sick On My Heart’ fills out like a full band with some clever songwriting, and ‘Melanie’ hits an album high with a catchy riff, which stands as the best hope of an alternative hit with their take on a normal girl-meets-boy friendly song that hits the smiling nerve on the listener. Unlike ‘All The Time’, which promises to be an upbeat tune worth your while, but when the tempo plummets at the end of the chorus, it loses the momentum it worked so hard to create and dies out slowly.
As far as the mellowed side of Nai Harvest goes, ‘Ocean Of Madness’ could have been a 90s Britpop classic to rival Blur et al if they’d turned up earlier, but it goes to show that the band can deliver when they stick to what they’re good at.
It seems that Nai Harvest are still finding their best form, and the album suffers because of it. The vocals are a higher pitch than their earlier material which works well for the Sheffield lot, but now they need to use it to their best potential and avoid the unnecessary fodder that squeezes between the generally interesting rock songs.
‘Hairball’ appears to be trying to appeal to a very broad audience instead of pinning down one as a platform to move forward from. The cleaner sound suits Nai Harvest, but songs like ‘Gimme Gimme’ lack grit all together and flat into the boring spectrum immediately. Hopefully the band learn from ‘Buttercups’ and keep their enthusiasm and heart in the gritty rock songs and progress from the spine that holds the album together.
Written by Michael Heath (@MikeBeef)