Album Review: USA Nails – Character Stop (Hex Records/Bigout Records)

USA Nails release their fifth album “Character Stop” on October 23rd 2020 through Hex Records (USA) and Bigout Records (Europe).

On it they explore identity – like the online personas of aggressive twitter users, influencers and vloggers, as well as more introspective takes on mental health, giving up on dreams, the joy (and despair) of being a part-timer, and contemplating who they would be if they decided to hang up their guitars for good.

Back with a brand-new album so quickly after their excellent 2019 release ‘Life Cinema’, it’s good to hear that USA Nails aren’t exactly moving away from their post-punk/alt/noise-rock make-up. Although, it should be noted that this new album does feature a few more downbeat and introspective listens.

One of which, Revolution Worker, begins the album before the faster punkiness comes with I Don’t Own Anything and the title track. The latter, blending cutting guitar work and discordant vocals, for something that has a ton of energy without ignoring the detail USA Nails are going for on this album.

Detail that is even more present on How Was Your Weekend? Partially because it’s a bit more of a trippy effort with vocals that are near spoken-word for the majority.

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One thing you can say USA Nails do and do very effectively is challenge the status-quo. Not quite punk, not quite noise, not quite alternative in the conventional sense, the marrying of styles is very much their thing. I Am Posable, Dumb of Choice, No Pleasure, See Yourself… the middle of the album filled with all manner of exclusive and varied listens.

The latter part of the album sees each track growing, beginning with the disconnected and bassy Preference for Cold. Leading to the peppier but still quite frictional Temporary Home and the finale of Wallington. Where guitar squeals, a simple beat and whispered vocals make up the first and last couple of minutes. In between, an eruption of feedback, harsh to the ears.

There’s not much out there quite like USA Nails.

USA Nails – Character Stop Full Track Listing:

1. Revolution Worker
2. I Don’t Own Anything
3. Character Stop
4. How Was Your Weekend?
5. I Am Posable
6. Dumb of Choice
7. No Pleasure
8. See Yourself
9. Preference for Cold
10. Temporary Home
11. Wallington




Links

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USA Nails - Character Stop (Hex Records/Bigout Records)
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