Is it too early to anoint Nation of Language as the best band of the 2020s? The decade is only 20 months old, but Ian Devaney (vocals), Aidan Noéll (synths), and Michael Sue-Poi (bass) continue to churn out memorable and nostalgic synth-pop, krautrock, and new wave. Their debut album, Introduction, Presence, was not only one of last year’s most outstanding records, but one of the best of the 21st Century. If it was released in 1981, it would be considered an all-time classic today. Heck, it is still that.
With such accolades, the assumption could be made that the Brooklyn-based trio have already peaked or that they’ll suffer a sophomore slump when they release a new album. Well, Nation of Language already have bucked virtually every trend. They’ve proven that a DIY outfit can succeed in today’s over-commercialized industry. They’ve shown that synth-pop can be re-imagined. And maybe even more importantly, they’ve demonstrated that it’s possible to pair outstanding, vulnerable songwriting with infectious and euphoric music. Introduction, Presence possessed ten such examples. And so far this year, the band have released the engrossing and surprisingly shoegaze-y “Across That Fine Line”; the therapeutic heart-breaker, “Wounds of Love”; and now “This Fractured Mind”.
Nation of Language return to their “roots” on their latest single. They also show once again that krautrock and motorik do not need to be grimy nor industrial, but, in the hands of maestros, they can be intoxicating, uplifting, and even dance-able. These genres can also be epic in their scope and provide the perfect canvas for a tale about a person battling with their thoughts and inner demons each day.
Spiraling and crashing now
Waking on the cold hard ground
Worth it, it’s worth it
Kicking ‘round your town again
I wonder now and then”
Not only are Nation of Language the best band of the 2020s, but Ian Devaney also deserves to be recognized as one of the great songwriters around.
The band’s new album, A Way Forward, is due November 5th with pre-orders available on Bandcamp. Their U.S. tour begins August 19th followed by European dates starting in January. Go see them and bring your friends. Oh, and bring them some White Castle (watch the video to understand the reference).
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