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Nap Eyes reveal two great new songs

The last offering from Halifax, Nova Scotia’s Nap Eyes, came in 2020 with Snapshot Of a Beginner, a more easygoing yet bolder album than previous offerings, which saw a shift towards lusher arrangements courtesy of Jonathan Low (The National) and James Elkington on co-production duties.

Today, they have revealed two new offerings – old and new songs that bookend the band’s history. Paradise of Bachelors share how “Ice Grass Underpass”, written by the band’s principal songwriter and guitarist Nigel Chapman in 2009, predates the band’s existence entirely but prefigures the sonic signature of Nap Eyes’s foundational first two albums, Whine of the Mystic (2015, PoB-020) and Thought Rock Fish Scale (2016, PoB-024). This recent rendering describes a solipsistic solo walk, ice grass crunching underfoot, leaning through the snowy scrim of Brad Loughead’s guitar squall. Seasons change, as they always do—“I’ve been hoarding my coal so long / The winter turned to spring”—and time stitches its “squalid seams” of regret and forgetting. Who can remember thirst?

“Feline Wave Race” is something altogether stranger and more novel, emerging from Chapman’s current improvisational writing practice. Piloted by Seamus Dalton and Josh Salter’s subtle, synthetic rhythms, it feels more discursive and deconstructed, more abstract and nonlinear than anything they’ve attempted to date. Over the course of the song’s six-and-a-half-minute duration, a new deliquescent song-signature evolves alongside this narrative of planetary evolution and time travel. This rather leisurely “race” begins after the heat death of the universe, an abiding interest of the cosmically inclined Chapman, finding the narrator “in outer space / when the gas clouds / pass away and / the molecules / distribute / all across the fabric / of the horizon.” We are transported from deep space through telescoping deep time, from “the edge of the moat / of the 13th-century castle” to 1996, the year Nintendo released the jetskiing video game Wave Race 64.

The narrator’s familiar and companion, following a Franciscan encounter in a cave, is a wildcat, who, in an absurdist sleight of hand reminiscent of the similarly cat-consumed filmmaker Chris Marker, digitizes and surfs “a tidal wave” into the pixelated 64-bit waterways of Wave Race 64.

We’re left with no explanation and no ending, no return journey to our home world, resigned forever to explore the briny digital microcosmos with “that cat, that cat, that cat …”

More to come…

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