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NESS Gets Progtastic

By Tankboy in Arts & Entertainment on May 30, 2008 4:54PM

We really find it somewhat amusing that Figdish, a band known for short, punchy, pop songs, would eventually spawn NESS, a band unafraid of either over-the-top bombast or 25-minute songs. One listen to the new NESS disc, You Can't Afford To Feel, and the progression no longer seems so unlikely. Bandleader Rick Ness still manages to write super-catchy pop songs, the only difference is that he is fearless about letting them develop at their own pace to take on whatever final form suits the core of the tune best.

Opening with the one-two-three-four clack of a pair of drum sticks, the disc launches into multi-part harmonies and crushing guitars. The first verse alone features a few mini guitar solos, and a torrent of drum fills. It seems like it takes the band forever to come out with new material, but one listen to this album proves they spend an awful lot of time jamming in the effort to find the perfect parts for each song. This is most apparent on the nearly 25-minute opus "The Future Used To Be Cool," which has a four and a half minute build-up before the song actually starts to kick in. It's saying something about the band's talent, though, when you realize that intro is a) absolutely necessary and b) never gets tiring. That's the thing about proggy inclinations, they're easily mangled in the wrong hands, but when a talented group of musicians employ the tenets of the genre correctly, and work to expand the listener's understanding of music, the results can be incredibly pleasing.

The album isn't perfect, and there are a few tunes near the end that could use a jolt of caffeine, but for the most part it's an album that was worth the wait.

NESS plays Hideout this Sunday, June 1, 1351 W Wabansia, 8 p.m., 21+, $10, all attendees also get a free copy of the new album