It seems that everyone wants to put music into genre-specific boxes. Bands can either be indie or folk, never both. But Halifax’s own Nap EyesNap Eyes, like to go against the grain, especially with their new album, Snapshot of a Beginner. Armed with three-chord strumming and American folk-inspired tracks, this album is both something new and something familiar. It is a counter-intuitive combination of both cozy and exciting, all the while being authentic. And it kind of melts into the band’s genre-elusive quality. In the past, they have experimented with pop, classic rock with hints of jazz-pop, and Snapshot of a Beginner is no exception.
An opening track of an album should demand attention, and while some bands decide to dive straight in with a heavy guitar or sparse bass notes, Nap Eyes stick to what they know best: lyrics. Staying and working from home has made many of us question the day to day routines of society and the power that influences it. The intro to “So Tired” is eerily on the nose. It questions control and criticism and grants the listener permission not to feel guilty about not being able to be everything to all people. It is weirdly reassuring and the music reflects this with some blues-inspired guitar and hissing drums. It sounds familiar, but it’s not. Poignant and forgiving, “So Tired” is a musical manifestation of the current climate.
Invoking some seriously ’90s indie vibes, the attention peaking track “Mark Zukerberg,” starts with some zingingly bright guitars. While the rest of the world is trying to understand the social media mogul, Nap Eyes use their musical talent to pay homage to the tech genius, albeit a little tongue in cheek. This sees a departure for the band. Usually introverted, they tend to deal with everyday problems and not the issues of the wider world, but this track makes an exception. The lyrics paint an elusive picture of Mark Zukerberg, giving him a spirt-like quality. The lyrics that really shine on this track and the music makes way for their little injection of madness.
Reeling you into a meditative trance, “Even Though I Can’t Read Your Mind,” is a modern folk track that plods along at a pleasant pace. Pleasant isn’t the most flattering words to use in a review, but it is just that. Lyrics float over the cozy music, and they bite. This track includes clever lyrics that are the most intelligent form of personal criticism I have heard in some time. While this track is soothing and reassuring, the lyrics make this the best track on the album.
This album is an honest representation of everyday feelings that invoke the softness of American folk. That coziness encompasses this album and softens the genre-dodging music to make it a little more palatable. However, Snapshot of a Beginner feels slightly misguided and a little out of character for the ordinarily authentic band, making this album just miss the mark even so slightly.
Rating: 7.2 /10