By Melissa Johnston
Nap Eyes, a canadian-based band, is most properly named, considering the sound and content of their newest album, Thought Rock Fish Scale. It is the musical embodiment of a groggy, post-nap, existential trance. The loose acoustic rock instrumentation paired with frontman Nigel Chapman’s melancholy, conversational vocals and philosophical lyrics is a perfect combination for those dreary Sunday afternoons when you want to make life right but you don’t know how. The album was live-recorded over a span of only four days on a four-track, quarter-inch tape recorder, giving it a personable feel; almost as if the band is sitting on your couch with you, conversing about life.
The simple instrumentation is made up of lead guitarist Brad Loughead, also of the band Each Other, bassist Josh Salter and drummer Seamus Dalton, both of whom are in the band Monomyth as well. Interestingly enough, Chapman is a biochemist by day and a singer/songwriter by night. His lyrics are personal and analytical (as would be expected from a scientist,) sometimes straightforward and other times whimsical; much like the album title itself. In “Stargazer,” the second track of the album, Chapman sings, “If you go ‘round, try to please everybody / It only becomes your crutch,” soon followed by, “Stargazer, won’t you lend me your laser / I have a target to drop.” Chapman addresses faith, alcohol, social anxiety and everything in between. Throughout the album, different ranges of influences in genre can be heard, through twangy guitar riffs, soft jazzy drum beats, and groovin’ bass lines, giving Thought Rock Fish Scale a timeless sound.
This album couldn’t keep me interested through every track. Chapman’s vocals are sometimes too monotone and he sounds much better and more expressive when he sings in a slightly higher register, as he does in the second-to-last track, “Roll It.” The overall mellow sound of the album is also very consistent, almost making it seem like one 34-minute long track with a few good tempo changes and shifts in melody. However, I’m a sucker for lyrics that make you think, and when I’m in the right mood (such as that post-nap trance I mentioned earlier,) I can really get into it.