Halloween has been and gone for another year, but darkwave-inflected hardcore punk never goes out of fashion, right? And frankly, who gives a solitary fuck if it does?
Nag’s sinister second album is too busy being an ear-bleeding good time to care about shit like that. It’s too wrapped up asking questions like ‘is this real reality?’ – too caught up in pushing Bernard Sumner minimalism into furiously energetic bruisers and ever-darker corners. It’s the record you’ve been waiting for throughout 2021, whether you knew it or not. This RIPS.
Formed in Atlanta, GA, Nag have already dropped an LP (last year’s ‘Dead Deer’, on Die Slaughterhaus) and a handful of 7”s – all must-haves – but they’ve never quite cut loose like this. Vocalist Brannon Greene pitches his delivery somewhere between a caustic holler and a dead-eyed sneer, taking the blank generation for a midnight drive and hurtling straight into a brick wall.
Meanwhile, the band nab ideas from no-wave, the wilder ends of Goner Records’ almighty roster, and the best (and sometimes synthiest) aspects of gothed-out post-punk – the resulting concoction may be composed of familiar elements, but it feels like no one else other than Nag. A more hyperbolic and verbose hack than me might say this is the moment that signals the band have ‘arrived’, but not me. I’d just say this is a damn fine record – one of the very best things to have emerged from the wider punk rock mess in the last 12 months. Oh, and I’d add that if you don’t buy it, you may as well sever those things called ears, toss ‘em into the woods and let any of their redeeming qualities seep out into the soil, ‘cause that’s the only way you could continue to argue that they’re serving any useful purpose. But you know, that’s just me. You do you, friend. Actually, scratch that. Buy this record, you idiot.