Nebraska - Demo

Bill Cummings 00/00/0000

Rating: 3/5

Currently, dull dad rock(Coldplay, Thirteen Senses and Keane et al), and baggy revivalists (like Kasabian) dominate the indie rock band world. How refreshing it is then to hear a whole new set of bands not afraid of taking risks, bands who aren't afraid to evolve and be passionate and outspoken. London based indie rock band Nebraska are on the basis of this demo part of this new scene. Taking a refreshing twist upon the ghosts of the Smiths, Marion and Ultrasound, Nebraska might just be a band who can carve a place in people's hearts.

Opener “Anhendonia” is rollicking indie rock effort. Strident cutting guitars are fired above a smooth base line and Mike Hall's voice teeters between a Morrissey croon and the passionate exaltation of bands from the early to mid nineties. The chorus is similarly brilliant, with its soaring vocal of “Are you in or out? We can do without those who can't spell commitment.” It feels like a demand; 'love us, or we can do without out you'. It's also about relationships and in the careering last pre chorus of “Can anyone feel anything again?” you can physically hear Hall's vocal chords clawing desperately for some kind of love and devotion. Second up is “The Sound that stars make” and it's glorious, one of the best things I've heard on a demo in a year. Stunningly melancholic guitars wheel away above a massive wide screen rhythm section, Hall's vocal is at once emotional, passionate and tender before exploding into the intergalactic chorus of “Come home my Love I know You'll be there. When I go.” The final section includes a Bowie-esque spoken monologue before exploding back into a sky scraping melody that could break a thousand hearts. Like Suede at their best, this is glorious indie pomp rock and deserves to propel Nebraska towards more attention.

Last track “One Cold kiss” is probably the weakest here, a good effort but compared to the first two tracks it doesn't quite reach the heights. The vocals are still achingly romantic, the words are a little clumsy in places though (“We knelt and prayed when Eliott Smith was gone”). The last bars sound like mid period U2 with A-ha's melodies and shining guitars. Overall a brilliant demo, when you consider this is possibly better than anything Keane and their ilk have ever produced as signed bands. OK so it is a tad overproduced for a first effort but that's a fault of a producer not the band. The Nebraska sound has a freshness and a powerful left-of-center sensitive indie rock feel that you just don't hear in the mainstream these days, and in tracks like Anhedonia and The Sound That Stars Make they have two tracks of immense quality.