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Now, Now: An Evolution

March 23, 2019

 

KC Dalager and Bradley Hale have been making music together for over a decade. With numerous tours, albums, epic support slots and festival appearances under their collective belt the pair present a humble example of a well established and constantly evolving musical outfit - but it’s not their longevity that makes the duo so remarkable. KC and Brad are walking emotion, their connection unmistakable and unmatchable and their expansive, ever-growing talents prove time and time again that it is possible to create the art that you ache to create, with little help from anyone on the outside. 

 

Originally operating under the name of Now, Now Every Children the then band dropped their first EP back in 2008. They hastily gathered a following on MySpace, an era that is reflected in the digital soundscape of tracks like fan favourite Cars. Despite the demo quality, the taster still managed to be a charming first venture, KC’s angst ridden lyricism coupled with the unusually catchy song structure still stands tall to this day. Whatever made Now, Now both enticing and painfully addictive was woven throughout these beginnings; in every passive aggressive line, in every erratic drum hit and in every bone breaking crack of KC’s voice, something was starting. It was the birth of a specific brand of vulnerability, something further explored in the bands debut full length Cars, arriving in 2009. Listening to Cars is like entering the dark bedroom of an adolescent, the space illuminated only by a few passing headlights and dampened hints of desperation, coated in false nonchalance to save face. 

 

The band reemerged under the abbreviated name of Now, Now with 2010 release Neighbors. The 7 track record showcased Brad’s ability to turn the drums into an extra melodic force. Playing that on first listen may appear disjointed and lacking in structure soon reveals itself to be anything but. There’s a song within each song, Brad’s creation of patterns beneath the patterns of an already densely layered effort elevates the music to a new and untapped level. With shared vocals on stand out track Giants, Jess Abbott solidifies her presence as lead guitarist and background vocalist, the band seemingly finding their stride. 

 

A vision, a feeling and a sound became fully formed with the 2012 release of Threads. To summarise such an extraordinary release is impossible, the record one that begins and ends at the same place, making time both irrelevant and crucial. ‘Can you still feel the pull?’ KC asks, over and over again as the final track of the album comes to a close. Opening with intro track The Pull and crossing over into the unforgiving Prehistoric, it becomes immediately clear that Threads is a journey; and that once you start, stopping is no longer an option. ‘I’ll say that I’ve been trying to move on, we both know I’m not.’ 

 

Threads took what Cars and Neighbors laid the foundation for and blew it up, allowing it to explode in whichever direction it desired. Ambient synths intertwine with distorted and chugging guitars, wrapping around the strings as they tug you deeper and deeper into an all-consuming universe. KC brings metaphors to life, relying on some previously explored notions of sleep and the nature of patterns - patterns that have been forming since 2008 and have a life of their own, whether you want them to exist or not, ‘but the pattern won’t wash out.’ There’s a familiarity in the consistency. The repeated references throughout the record and the entire band discography make you feel like you’ve been a part of the story all along. 

 

Perhaps it’s the fact that Now, Now never play in standard tuning, or maybe it’s the inimitable style of Brad’s percussive energy, but Threads is unlike anything else. It’s sonically indestructible, a piece that only becomes better with time. It seemed as if the band had found their place, creating a genre all of their own. But after a 6 year gap in between releases and the departure of Jess, Now, Now returned in 2018 to redefine the meaning of evolution. 

 

Saved was unexpected, yet somehow it still made perfect sense. The record is a shimmery exploration of Now, Now’s electronic sensibility - a pure and unabridged electronic pop album. KC stripped herself to the bone, stowing away with the riddles of the past and instead becomes unapologetic and relentless in speaking her truth. Brad’s vocal production sees KC’s tone expand, his capabilities highlighting the spectrum of her tone and delivery. Saved feels like Now, Now unleashed; free to experiment and eager to bring to life whatever escapes them. Despite the sparkling evolution and shockingly honest lyricism, something deep within the record remains connected to the past. Even with the reduction of live percussion, Brad’s touch is all over the entire record - perhaps more than ever before. Saved is a new journey. It’s unadulterated desperation and longing. With repeated references to time - ‘oh, you’ll find out in time,’ heard in Drive, one of the deepest cuts the band have ever offered, as well as the constant use of pet names, ‘baby,’ and ‘honey,’ either to patronise or to remind us that there are threads (pardon the pun) that hang loosely from song to song. By the time the record ends and we reach hidden gem POWDER, there’s hardly a resolution. Much like Magnet at the end of Threads, we’re left somewhere near the start and in the midst of the end. ‘Loving me, baby, is easy. Where do I begin?’

 

Now, Now offer us a safe place, an escape into an unfamiliar world that quickly becomes more desirable than any other. A place carved and shaped expertly by KC and Brad themselves. If there was ever a perfect example of musical evolution, Now, Now encompass it fully.

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