Friday, April 5, 2019

Record Review //
Wendy Eisenberg and Shane Parish
"Nervous Systems"
(Verses Records)

$15 // //

Acoustic guitars start this off quietly, slowly and then they pick up the pace into a ramble.    Higher notes are plucked and you can tell this is only guitars but it has such a rock feel to it nonetheless.    Sometimes it can sound like a banjo and with the acoustics you think it would feel softer but it doesn't-- there is a raw energy to this that feels anything but soft.   The way the guitars rattle and jangle is just the work of a true classically trained guitarist and it makes me wonder how many words I'll use to describe how a guitar is played throughout this review which I might only use one or two of in any other review.

Because of the acoustics, I'm reminded of a lullaby but I would use this more to wake yourself up than to fall asleep so what's the opposite of a lullaby called?    "See Leg" starts off sounding like broken folk.   It's odd because I feel like listening to this, it should be relaxing, calming but it isn't and even the guitar notes pick up to where they start sounding like an alarm, so that difference in playing something which should feel one way but comes out another way is why I like this so much I think (like when pop songs swear)

One of the closest artists I can think of to compare this with would be Violent Femmes, but of course they also have that bass, drums and vocals thing going on and yet this can maintain just as much sound without all of that.    The third song starts off quieter, more desolate, before picking up a little bit.    As one guitar rambles, the other feels like it's singing before they're both just driving and driving.     It sounds like someone drops a pick and then the song just breaks down into chaos here.

"What Have I Broken Though?" has these false starts and stops which sound like "The Fragile" era NIN right away.    Sometimes the notes are higher and other times it even can sound like they're being tuned.     There is some talking at the end of the song as well and then we go into something a bit more classical.    The clanky chords really come through on this fifth song as well.     There is this driving feeling, an intensity like in a Hitchcock movie and then the notes just kind of build and fall off at the end.

"Playing the Long Game" is the longest song on this album and at times it can sound like strings are breaking.   This then turns into almost like a waltz before the acoustic notes cut back through once again.    There is some scraping in here as well and this is a whole lotta guitar.    At times I know this is a guitar being played but it's making sounds I didn't think a guitar could (or should) make.     This song can feel like it takes up most of the second side but I feel like it has a way about it where it could be a record until itself.

In the end, we get even quieter, softer, as the notes fall slowly down from the sky.   It leaves me wondering what is left for the guitar to do which has not been done on this record.   But if you have any interest in the guitar as an instrument- and not just the sounds it makes when playing with other instruments- then you certainly owe it to yourself to give this record at least one listen through to hear how much these two artists have managed to accomplish.

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