Thursday, May 4, 2017

Not You: “Misty” (2017) CD Review

What is going on in Halifax? I’ll tell you what I think is going on, and please don’t tell me if I’m mistaken. My image of Halifax is a place just overflowing with great bands, all of them innovative, all of them supportive of each other. And people just go see live music every night and most afternoons and maybe in the mornings too, like stopping off for a quick set of tunes instead of stopping off for a coffee on the way to work, and the music is played at all sorts of cool intimate venues, with folks in the audience recording the shows, trading tapes (because they’re still physically connected to the music there, no downloads for those folks), putting up fliers for shows, and basically breathing music, feasting on music. I’ve listened to a large amount of excellent CDs from bands based in Halifax, and the city has now taken on an almost-magical quality in my mind. Like there is nothing negative there. How could there be arguments or strife with so much fucking awesome music?

The latest gem to be sent from Halifax is Misty, the debut EP from a band called Not You, which formed in 2016. While the band is new, its members are experienced musicians, having been playing in other bands in that area. Not You is made up of Nancy Ulrich (from Dog Day) on vocals and guitar, Stephanie Johns (from The Stolen Minks, a cool band whose name I love) on vocals and guitar, Rebecca Young (from Soaking Up Jagged) on vocals and bass, and Meg Yoshida (from Bad Vibrations) on drums. All of the songs on the EP are originals. The music is kind of like moody punk, if that makes sense, or pop but with a gorgeous dark streak running through it. It’s not depressing or anything, though, so don’t worry about that, and actually this seems like a band that would be great to see in concert.

The disc opens with “Mabel,” with dark, somber tones on guitar, and with a contrasting light quality to the vocals.  I love that combination. Something about the sound grabs my attention. It is slightly eerie, and also somehow inviting, a hand reaching out from a dark club with promises of treats inside. “LL” has something of a sweeter vibe at the start, but still packs a punch. “Carnivore/What are you in for?/Yessiree/I can see/A pretty day/Can’t you get away?/Away, away, away, away.” That’s followed by “Soup,” one of my favorite tracks. There is something pretty about this song; the vocals are gorgeous, even if there is a distance between their voices and us. “Does it make it right or wrong/Now that you’re dead and gone.”

“Twofour” is a great pop song with a dark edge. It begins with the guitar sounding out a warning, and then the rest of the band kicks in to give the song a full, forceful sound. “Let’s not get along together/Let’s not get along together/Let’s not get along forever.” That’s followed by “PT,” which might actually be my favorite song on this disc. It is undeniably catchy, but also unusual in its style. It stalks you as it opens, then is strangely adorable, and then blasts you. I’ve listened to it several times, and each time it’s something different about it that appeals to me. Yeah, this one is my favorite. The EP then concludes with “Haha,” which has a more aggressive sound at the start. But the vocals have a strange sweetness that works in beautiful contrast. Each of these songs draws me in, and I am excited to hear more from this band.

CD Track List
  1. Mabel
  2. LL
  3. Soup
  4. Twofour
  5. PT
  6. Haha
Misty is scheduled to be released on both CD and vinyl on May 12, 2017. By the way, Halifax, if things continue to deteriorate here in the U.S. at the current alarming rate, then perhaps a lot of us will be moving up there before long.

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