The Nylon Admirals release Album
There are subtle ways to be experimental within the confines of a recording studio, and then there are bands like Seattle’s own The Nylon Admirals, whose version of experimentation simply cannot be limited to the standard of practice applied to other indie bands nowadays. In their debut album Drama, The Nylon Admirals leave no stone unturned as they search for their own unique sound within the lexicon of contemporary electronica, and for my money, tracks like “Superluminal,” “Oyster,” “I Have to Go Now” and “We Were Romans” see them finding that sound and then some.
There aren’t a lot of vocal accents in this LP, but when they appear – no matter how fleeting the performance or sampling – their diversity supplies us with another layer of intrigue through which to study Drama and its underlying narrative. “The Blind Watchmaker” invites a neo-operatic harmony into the fold much as “Oyster” sees The Nylon Admirals embracing their inner street and dishing some rough and tumble raps on us. While this combination is strange and perhaps stomach-turning to the hopelessly puritanical among us, to me, it’s the bread and butter of what makes this band such an interesting follow at the moment.
Let’s face it; lyrics could never convey the kind of emotionality that the bassline in “I Have to Go Now” or the synthetic twist to “Flutter for a Day” do, but in either instance, conventional poetry isn’t asked to get anything across to us. There’s a textural enigma to this record that makes melodies the catalyst for the mood more than anything else, and as conflicting as this concept might be with the understated electronic flow of the tracklist, it somehow works well enough to make one song in Drama bleed into the next without ever skipping a beat.
There’s virtually no continuity to the material that’s been stitched together in Drama, but to me, this feels entirely deliberate on the part of The Nylon Admirals. This is a band that has little to no interest in tethering themselves to an increasingly bloated progressive pop movement on the west coast; if they did, they wouldn’t be laying down the devilishly J-pop take of “Black Hole Sun” or its inbred cousin “From Simbel to Scutari” here even as a joke. They’ve got a grand plan for their future, and that’s obvious even when giving this album the most cursory of listens imaginable.
Impossibly unpredictable and occasionally so jarring that deeming it a product of the modern surrealism movement seems like a bit of a stretch, you really won’t find a more endearing listen for fans of indie eclecticism than you will in The Nylon Admiral’s Drama this summer. Drama is stacked with eight rather eviscerating sonic treats, but at a modest thirty-four minutes in total running time, it won’t exhaust you of the marvelousness of electronica after a complete spin. I’m eager to hear more from this band, and soon enough, I think a good chunk of the world is going to share my opinion.