Now, Now – Neighbors EP

written by: December 7, 2010
Now, Now - Neighbors EP album cover Release Date: December 7, 2010


Rather than wait for a spot with Daytrotter or “MTV Unplugged” to go bare bones, Minnesota-based band Now, Now (they dropped Every Children from the end) takes the step and lines up both acoustic and electro versions of songs on their new EP Neighbors.

Electro-fueled songs dominate the short list of tracks and, although good, they’re shadowed by the two acoustic/electronic pairs.

The different adaptations of “Giants” are equally beautiful in play, but uniquely so. Each spotlights a different aspect of the same song so they don’t become repetitive or dull. “Giants (Acoustic)” carries more elegance. The acoustic guitar riffs are light enough not to intrude on Cacie Dalager (guitar/vocals) and Jess Abbott’s (guitar/vocals) vocals, but bring in a fullness of sound that works well to support them.

The acoustic rendition feels more tranquil, although Dalager brings an air of melancholy with her opening, “If I believed in God, I would not have done the things you’ve done.” But as the song progresses, the slight clash between lyrics and guitar becomes more prevalent. The soft yet upbeat riffs combat Dalager as she sings, “You’ve been alone, you’re singing to the sun, because you know you’re on your own and you’re going home,” acting as a warming filter for icy words. That bite shines through with the electro-interpretation of “Giants,” acting as a foil to the acoustic twin.

There is real emotion behind the instrumentals of the latter version. Right off the bat, the opening guitar version, while light and airy in acoustic, turns a few shades darker with an echo effect. Brad Hale’s drum work may have taken a backseat in the acoustic version, but here it breaks into the opening lines, making the more complex rendition pop. As with any song that has a lot of elements, not every aspect gets the spotlight. Dalager’s vocals, while a lead point in the prior piece, get buried at points when set against a strong instrumental backbone.

For the second pair, titled after the album, Now, Now goes in a different direction. Instead of embracing differences, there are more similarities between the acoustic and electronic versions of “Neighbors.” At first the opening riffs are virtually the same, just set at a slightly different pitch, but nonetheless appears the first song is repeating. The electronic version gets muddied when Hale breaks in with the drum work. Although good, the sound along with two guitars is too excessive.

In both versions, jingle bells feel out of place. Perhaps the release date (Dec. 7, 2010) had something to do with that one. Maybe they should have added more cowbell, and left the sleigh bells to rest. The band redeems itself with “Jesus Camp,” a brilliant, though short, piece that serves as the apex of emotion in the album. It exudes a to-the-core rawness that we rarely see from artists. Instead of tacking on fluff and layering on sounds, Now, Now keeps it simple, and shows they aren’t apprehensive about vulnerability. Like “Jesus Camp,” the entire EP is a quick listen, but the two years the band spent putting it together comes through with its seven beautifully organized, irresistible tracks.

Neighbors EP Tracklisting:

  1. Rebuild
  2. Giants
  3. Roommates
  4. Jesus Camp
  5. Neighbors
  6. Giants (Acoustic)
  7. Neighbors (Acoustic)