Holy cow. I witnessed a live performance by this Brit power duo not more than a year ago, and as spry and inspired as their half-hour set went down, I'm convinced that seeing them every night for the entirety of that tour wouldn't have adequately prepared me for lacerating and near-spellbinding beast that is Hairball. Composed of frontman/axe-wrangler Ben Thompson and drummer Lew Currie, Nai Harvest are a product of Sheffield, England, bearing a wailing sonic aesthetic that's squarely in the neighborhood of Male Bonding and Cheatahs, both noisome country-mates situated due-south in London. Ok, so maybe you haven't heard of those two, but how about Sugar, Nirvana, Dinosaur Jr., or even My Vitriol? Now you have a better idea of where this is going.
Yes, Thompson's searing guitar leads and echoey vocals spark that much of a visceral charge, aided and abetted of course by Currie's propulsive pounding. Hairball's ten selections are spewed in a plethora of frayed and frantic tangents, somehow staying ensconced in the melodious framework Nai Harvest manage to keep them corralled in. "Sick on My Heart," "Dive In," and the heaving title cut are breathless, punky barn-burners to die for. This frenzied ante is tamped down a notch on tuneful, mid-tempo benders "Drinking Bleach" and "Buttercups" both of which jibe into more streamlined indie-rock environs. As for the quality ratio, this disk runs the gamut from at minimum good to thoroughly grand, while never encroaching into the grandiose. This Hairball is sure to be hurled into my top-ten albums tally for 2015. Utterly glorious stuff.
It can all be experienced firsthand on their Soundcloud page. Make sure to grab a hard copy direct from Top Shelf Records, or get your fix from Bandcamp, iTunes or Amazon.
Original Content: Nai Harvest - Hairball (2015, Top Shelf) - A brief overview.