Indie Outfit Nah. Release Swirling Debut Album
Washington D.C. indie band Nah. are not merely five people playing music together. They’re a unit, an amalgamation of five wild, warring minds and the thoughts and feelings that live inside each of them. With their debut album, Patchwork, released last month, Nah. deliver a raw exploration of their own identities, experiences, and representations of mental health. The record is heavy with the weight of honesty, but that’s the whole point of Nah. — they want to confess and to unpack. With each other. With us. Together.
“Patchwork was and is a love project for all of us — toward ourselves and anyone who might come across it,” Emma Bleker of Nah. tells The Music Mermaid about the release. “We recorded it over the course of a year in the basement of our band home, as a conversation with ourselves, our own mental health, and the difficulties we all find with communicating love during chaos.”
Patchwork ends up enduring a genre-blending excursion, an album dotted with psychedelic influence and shoegaze elements, but it opens with “Bodies,” a gorgeous track led by punches of post-rock percussion and soul-deep spoken word delivery before morphing into something even more beautiful — something that sparkles and pulses and soars with the addition of distant keys and strums. The dizzying beginning of Patchwork leads into “Vitamin D,” a more upbeat surf-rock romp that finds Nah. merging their talents for a track detached from the album’s tender beginning. Instead, we hear clear examples of each member’s distinct skills, from soulful vocals to twangy riffs and a whole lot more. On “Discography,” we’re back to a sparse spoken word ballad built on the thrum and hum of acoustic layers. There’s not very much to this one but we’re not missing anything — it’s like an interlude meant to slightly disturb the senses, to unsettle our comfort within Nah.’s dreamy soundscapes.
On “Wild,” soft percussive shimmers lay a sweet base beneath a folk-y guitar line before the composition is rounded out slowly by drowsy vocals, quicker drum beats, and droning bass and synth warbles. There’s a lengthy buildup here that bridges the song’s achingly pretty beginning with its searing clamor of an end. Later, “Be Better” follows a similar guitar line — it’s a quick, sweet rhythm that acts as steady groundwork for the best vocal delivery yet on the album. Somewhere between hopeful and resigned, the instrumentation pounds in happy urgency while line after line of too-real songwriting is spit like a confession: “Got lost finding what you wanted / I can’t be what you needed all the time.” One of Patchwork’s standout tracks is “Fractal,” a lo-fi effort that finds dulcet vocals leading a real, raw, foggy stream-of-consciousness effort so stunning in its simplicity. Patchwork ends nearly 45 minutes later with “Garden,” a slow-burning indie-psych track rife with synth twinkles and dreamy shimmers that meanders its way to the finish line.
With their debut album, Nah. offer a selection of one-of-a-kind songs that were taken from the depths of their beings and crafted with careful hands. Across a wide variety of rhythms and emotions, Patchwork gives listeners wildly different pieces of the band. It’s an honor to meet them.