-Album Review by Jacob Kresovich–
The Nepotist, originally from Ithaca, New York, is an alt-soul trio currently based in New York City. The band formed in 2011 with brothers Chris and Hayden Frank on guitar and bass, respectively and Ithaca- native Dana Billings on drums. The Nepotist released their self-titled EP in March 2012. Billings and the Franks have since parted ways, but the very competent Jacob Colin Cohen joined in late 2013 and is now the band’s full time drummer. The Nepotist offers powerful performances emphasizing their musical ability and showcasing their inimitable style.
The album opens with the song ‘Worry Hard’ which takes on the perspective of a jaded lover who comes across as immature. In satirical fashion, the singer explains how he never thinks of his ex although the entire song focuses on his wicked desires concerning the girl that broke his heart. The chorus rings, “Dear I hope your hearing goes, and I hope your hair falls out/ Love I hope you drink too much, ’cause that will give me something to laugh about.” The Franks inject this dark, well-written story, with serious emotions, harmonizing in slow but calculated, chord progressions that create a sad and distressed mood.
‘Worry Hard’ also includes a music video directed by Billy Silva, produced by North of New York and Marius Crowe. The short film opens with a woman leaving her apartment to throw her childhood teddy bear in the street corner garbage heap. As she walks out, the bear remembers old quotes from the young girl who had used to cherish her stuffed toy. A regular Corduroy story gone terribly wrong, this tattered bear even remembers his owner promising they’d be best friends forever. The music begins as the bear sits in the trash. He then walks the streets and comes across the woman having drinks with a man. Here his downward spiral begins. Depression leads to alcohol. Booze leads to cocaine, then to heroin. Finally, the lyrics ring “As long as we’re not speaking I can sing/ La la, you’re wrong, I’m right” and the bear takes a final leap from a building rooftop. Silva’s choice to make the subject of the video a stuffed animal excellently portrays the tongue-in-cheek lyrics. In this light, stanzas that potentially inspire sympathy for a lovelorn soul are muted on account of the subject being a toy.
The Nepotist is hardly defined by this one song. The band continues the theme of relationships in the second track, ‘Stay the Year.’ This song features a more pronounced guitar, but the blended vocals and lyrics again drive the emotion. The focus is less bleak than the previous song, but the singer still pleads that you will “stay the night/ stay the year/ stay over and over/ ‘til the river runs clear.” The track ends without addressing whether or not this request was accepted.
‘Most Days I Don’t’ draws attention to love gone wrong, much like the first song of The Nepotist. The tune opens with Chris’s melodic voice singing “You think you know the place/ Surprise, six months, lies, your fists, my face/ Just when you hold something/ Oh no, look there goes, love is setting in.” These lyrics show how quickly an infatuation can turn into something ugly as love begins to encroach. The chorus then echoes a list of contradictory sentiments: “I will tell you that I love you/ Maybe most days I don’t/ I’ll love you forever/ unless I won’t.”
The Nepotist reminds the listener of the struggles that often occur in relationships. From being thrown aside, to desperate pleas, the album tends to reflect on the darker and more emotionally driven aspects of love. Both Franks and Billings do an excellent job bringing these emotions to light through their well-crafted lyrics—strong words that are driven by their proficient and distinctive harmony. The Nepotist continue to play at significant venues in New York City, including Rockwood Music Hall and The Mercury Longue. With these stages drawing large crowds, the band’s obvious talent for song-writing and visionary media sets them on a promising course.
Post Photo Courtesy of Cheryl Dunn http://thenepotist.com/