Karmic Whiplash | The Nervous System (City Duck)

cd_karmic.jpgThe Nervous System is a quick, enjoyable ten-song folk rock album with enough creativity, edge, pop and variety to keep it interesting all the way through.

 

 

 

 

Karmic Whiplash began to take form when punk/metal bassist Brendan Themes decided to step back from loud, fuzzy music and screamed vocals to put his musical skills to work an acoustic guitar. After recording a few solo albums, the singer/songwriter teamed with multi-instrumentalist Travis Lund to complete his new band and begin work on a new album.

The Nervous System, self-produced by Themes, has a gritty style and a mix reminiscent of a four-track recording giving it an organic sound, which accurately reflects the fact that it was recorded in a number of apartments and basements across Minnesota. The music is centered on an acoustic guitar strumming out poppy riffs, fronted by smooth vocals and backed by light drums. Occasionally another guitar, mandolin or harmonica adds some ambiance and atmosphere to the stripped-down tunes. It’s the kind of music that performed live would thrive in an intimate setting, like a small club or bar. The lyrics are about what you’d expect: figuring out life, love and oneself. But Themes’ heartfelt delivery and cleverness hint that there’s something deeper to figure out if you just listen a little closer.

While the recommended tracks "Detox," "Getting to No" and "Quiet" are catchy selections, my favorite turned out to be "On a Wire." It has a detuned brass-like background with an on-and-off shuffled marching beat that builds to a pause, crashes and then restarts. It’s unique, slightly askew yet strangely addictive.

Overall, The Nervous System is a quick, enjoyable ten-song folk-rock album with enough creativity, edge, pop and variety to keep it interesting all the way through. Go visit their website, give it a listen and find out for yourself why I’m saying that for anyone with an interest in acoustic rock, The Nervous System would make a great addition to your CD rack. A- | Eammon Azizi

RIYL: Violent Femmes, Ani DiFranco, Billy Bragg

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