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20 Watts Reviews Nightmare of You’s Infomaniac by JohnCassillo

Nightmare of You's sophomore release is greatly disappointing

Nightmare of You's sophomore release is greatly disappointing

PREVIEW: Download Nightmare of You’s “Please Don’t Answer Me” MP3
WE GIVE IT: 10/20 Watts

There were always a few revered acts in the Long Island scene in high school. One of these bands, The Movielife, helped shape trends and decide who was the next big thing. After their breakup, its members joined or started other groups, one of which was Nightmare of You. After their self-titled debut in 2005, they were the new “it” band, with accolades from Yahoo! Music and mtvU. A lot can change in four years.

From the onset, it’s obvious that Nightmare of You decided to embrace a bigger, more radio play-friendly sound on their sophomore effort, Infomaniac. Bright pop sounds evocative of The Strokes, and bouncy piano parts are just a few of the changes as the band 180s their demeanor altogether. Maybe it’s just a product of the band getting older, but the edge seen prominently just a few years back is a distant memory, and not necessarily for the better. The trade-off is memorable hooks for the band’s past identity.

With all of the shifts in mood and method, you’d think that a listener could get used to it all after a few tracks and get into it (if they were already fans of the band). Not necessarily so here. Switiching between vocal stylings reminiscent of the aforementioned Strokes’ Julian Casablancas and The DecemberistsColin Meloy, lead singer Brandon Reilly makes things frustrating and confusing for the listener. Hints of the first All-American Rejects album don’t make things any easier.

To top it all off, closer “Goodnight, Devil,” combines the best parts of The Beatles‘ “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” and Brand New‘s “Welcome to Bangkok,” to create the album’s best offering (“Please Don’t Answer Me” is the only other track I can say I enjoyed). The hard rock number, complete with heavy distortion, solos and a ’70s psychedelic influence, is what the band should have pursued all along, which almost makes its inclusion an insult to fans.

Infomaniac speaks to both unfulfilled potential and a misguided experiment. Four years after releasing a very serviceable and promising debut, Nightmare of You have seemingly checked out from a musical standpoint, all in the pursuit of popular acclaim (which they had already received with their original sound). The nicest description here would probably be “disappointing.” Such a shame.

— John Cassillo

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