Review by Sealab Tucker
Album Art by Jamie O’Keefe, Photo by Ian Ritter
It’s important to listen to a new album in a place that isn’t intrusive to you. You can’t have any distractions and you can’t let any feelings from the outside come in and enhance your first time listening experience in any way. And look, I get it, that’s probably never the case. I know myself, and anyone reading this has that one album that when you first listened to it, you were having a lot of feelings going in. Probably more than one album, honestly. I can remember exactly where I was and what I was feeling when I first listened to MeatLoaf’s first Bat Out of Hell album. My friend Ryan and I were in his old green car, it was a manual, and he had a Dr. Pepper and I had a raspberry tea. He was still smoking back then, Marlboro Reds, and I was still smoking menthols at the time. We were just cruising around with the windows down going into Franklin, Indiana for some reason, and he just started playing it. I remembered the words immediately, as I sang along with it the second time around, and we sang it together, and then we sang it to each other the entire night. I remember that night so well. “I remember every little thing as if it happened only yesterday.”
It’s been cloudy, grey, and rainy up here in Brookston, Indiana for a few weeks now. And this album , Nirvikalpa Meow, by Australian rock band, Disconnected Genius, is perfect for that.
It isn’t doom and gloom for me, but instead the grey sky makes everything feel smaller and more intimate. This isn’t an exciting album in that it’s immediately in your face, however, it builds up in time. It’s a slow process, and much like it is to till your first garden; the end results are so much more pleasant. Don’t look ahead to see what’s left, but turn around to see what you’ve accomplished so far. Sound familiar? I reference that a lot in my everyday life, and it’s good to find the connections in every which way. I find myself relating so much to the first song on this album, “About Nothing.” These guys absolutely hit on my current feelings on the world with these lyrics right at the very beginning: Let’s all get rich & banish poverty. It’s common sense, there are no secrets at sea. Our police are corrupt and they should be ashamed. They’re like a bad joke, how can victims be framed? The lesson I’m learning is that we all should, consider the cops to be armed & stupid. Forgiveness is hard, but it’s better than death. Just open your lungs as you take a deep breath.
I mean, what else is there to say? They’re saying exactly what they want without hiding it in vague, imaginative words. As you listen to this album, you realize that in every song. What is sung, is what is meant. No time for mincing your words here, and that’s a refreshing break from the norm. Just say what you mean, please. Jamie O’Keefe’s vocals match the words perfectly. His voice is dry and seasoned, and again, no nonsense like these lyrics. Bassist Yuri Pavlinov and drummer Danny Farrugia fall right in line with Jamie. I felt so boring as my first run through listening to this album, because I was using it as background noise while working on another project and thought, “Eh, kinda boring.” Just that. No reason why, no looking inward to ask myself why I felt that was. I wasn’t following my rules that I had mentioned at the beginning of this review, and I don’t want anyone else to make that same mistake. The first three songs here on this album take time to build up, and you really have to give it that chance or else it’ll dud on you. Don’t make the same mistakes I made.
The fourth song, “Just Stay Don’t Go,” is where it really starts to hit the gas. This is that punk vibe we all love. It’s fast and it lets everyone get their own sun to soak up. And while this track isn’t something new that we haven’t heard before, it’s still just a poppy, jammy, dance in your bedroom, posters of the band members on your wall kinda song that we all secretly love. The next two tracks, “We’re All Watching Everything,” and “Kings & Queens,” slow it back down, but it isn’t a departure. By the time I listened to this album for the fourth time, I began getting the music stuck in my head, and right around the middle here, I realized I was singing with an accent. That Australian accent is not lost at all and it makes this story so much more fun. I know a lot of times we wind up being surprised that an actor or a singer isn’t really from where their accent might have led us to believe. I don’t know that it’s always done on purpose, but I ‘m glad Jamie here doesn’t hide it. I think it makes the album sound more sincere, does that make sense? I don’t know, but so far as I can tell, these songs were made with a lot of passion with little outside influence to direct them in a path they don’t want to go.
We might notice a pattern here with “One Fine Day,” as it’s a little more upbeat. They did a really good job in the placement of the songs throughout this album. As we’ve picked up the pace, “Quietly Into The Night,” kicks it up a few more stages for us. I absolutely love the placements here, and it makes Nirvikalpa Meow not too heavy, and not too light. It’s like a balanced dessert that took time to get there like baklava or frozen grapes (try them if you haven’t). What I’m trying to say is, this album isn’t milk chocolate. it’s more like a Twizzler so far since I can eat a lot of them without feeling guilty about it. One hour ago I took a shower so that I could go out and purchase Twizzlers and I’m not joking.
As you’re probably guessing, you’re right; we’re going to be slowing down a little bit for these last two songs. They’re mellow and melancholy, with “The Little Don,” talking about the death of Australian Test cricketer Phillip Hughes after he was hit in the neck by a bouncer during a cricket match, and “The Diamonds On The Floor,” which is carried by Jamie’s haunting piano throughout the song. The patterns in this album allow you to sway back and forth in time, and nothing sticks out, so you’re able to run it all the way down without any problems. And that’s my favorite thing about Nirvikalpa Meow, it’s very easy to listen to. I was expecting a lot more punk riffs, but I’m glad I didn’t get that. The last song, “Arkane Bliss,” ends this album how it began: a slow and steady drive up a mountain, except there isn’t an unexpected drop off where you fall. Instead, we’re given time to get out, stretch, and begin the descent down to enjoy the view. Under a canopy of trees during a soft rain with cigarettes and coffee. I hope to find more like this.