Naked Next Door are born to be a live band. It’s obvious from everything about their latest EP, ‘Swerving Out Wide’, that this six-track collection of songs were meant to be performed to a crowd, which begs the question: how does the release fare during a global lockdown?
Pretty well, as it turns out. It opens with ‘Save It’ and immediately introduces us to the band’s quintessential sound; indie rock, seasoned with subtle nuances of peppy pop. This pleasant blend shows us a gentler side to the often try-hard “underground” indie scene, paving the way for more vulnerable, honest songwriting without losing that alternative rock edge.
It’s clear through audio alone that Naked Next Door ooze charisma. How could anyone resist the endearing pop-rock of The 1975, intertwined with the upbeat enthusiasm of The Maine and the cool confidence of Catfish & The Bottlemen? Hints of all three can be heard throughout ‘Swerving Out Wide’, particularly on both ‘Truth Is’ and ‘Halo’, and it’s hard not to be drawn in.
Through all this, however, it’s ‘Noise’ and ‘Lying To You’ that really stand out on this EP. Both songs – the first with its riff-laden guitar breakdown and the latter with its unshakable, insatiable energy – are just crying out to be performed live, and could easily fill a festival tent at Reading & Leeds this summer.
Unfortunately, that opportunity has been snatched away, and it looks like these tracks won’t see a live performance – festival or otherwise – anytime soon. There’s no reason that ‘Swerving Out Wide’ can’t be enjoyed at home, but these songs need to be released into the wild if they hope to truly fulfil their potential.