In music you can have your own sound or you can alter things depending on the times and where you’re at as an artist. Over the years whether it was with emo group Braid, indie pop act Hey Mercedes or even with his fuzzy toned group The City On Film Bob Nanna has had his own sound. Now with his first official solo album Celebration States, Nanna chronicles loss, anger and emotional highs and lows throughout the acoustic release, while still sounding like himself from beginning to end.
To clarify, the album isn’t a stripped down and acoustic version of anything Nanna has done previously. In many ways the rebirth in tone digs deep into the soul of what Nanna has always done and gives you plenty of gut wrenching melodies as an end result. The emotional resonance is there from the start with opener “Do You Want to Buy a Guitar” where you can hear the emotional heft in the singer songwriter’s vocals. Where “Mr. Albatross”offers plenty of upbeat pacing, the lyrics tell a different tale. Dual vocals against the strum of the acoustic place the words into your head as soon as you hear them. Songs like “Come Home” and “Preoccupied” have the kind of heartfelt sound that has always been present in Nanna’s work, yet here they seem so much more locked in. The heft of the words are easier to follow without the gaze of distortion and bombastic rock drums.
Though those elements are removed Bob Nanna still finds a way to conduct rhythm within these songs. “97B4E” has this start stop pacing that grafts itself into your ears. “Spinning Pitchers of Sunlight” is a magical blend of Nanna’s signature voice and rhythmic playing that never falls flat. Even with talk sing moments, there’s nothing that feels stripped here. But throughout the ten tracks that take you on a roller coaster of emotions, the favorite comes on “Don’t Come Home.” The defiance of growth after loss, the way the song has its own head space removed from the rest of the songs and how forward it comes off with the electric making an appearance shows that full band or not, Bob Nanna can deliver the goods.
Celebration States is available physically directly from New Granada Records. It’s also ready to stream or purchase in all digital outlets. At this time there are no live-stream events, but some should be scheduled sooner than later.
Image Credits: Photo by Katie Hovland.