If you’re at all familiar with this indie band, you’ll know their songs are always a Rather Nice blend (see what I did there?) of cleverly presented humorous angst layered against bright melodies. Although I’ve never listened to an EP quite as short as four minutes before, I must say that the boys have stumbled across a new art form. There’s something to be said about showing art in such a concise manner. As much as I love getting lost in a song for a while, these sound bites bring a whole new element to the music industry. Each song has a unique sound, while still somehow staying consistent with the rest of their catalogue.
In celebration of their new EP, I’m taking a deep dive into this mini album that packs a big punch. As you listen, you’ll notice how incredibly talented Joe Johnson, Mike Tenreiro, Nick Reagan and Oliver Littlefield truly are – and they won’t even need much of your time to prove it!
Ripping guitar riffs courtesy of the incredible Mike Tenreiro launch listeners into “Flippin’ Out.” Then the catchy melody comes in with goofy lyrics that make me smile: “I’m tripping over my words and flippin’ out in the street.” Then it ends with “Haven’t you heard I’m a dummy,” which sounds like something straight out of some PSA announcement. It’s so random and funny, and begs to be plastered on their band merch.
Easily the most romantic song on the EP, “Alright,” is a very sweet song with beautiful guitar melodies mimicking the vocals. No wonder these guys joked they’ve had to move many times to avoid getting overrun by fangirls (read this recent interview with Rather Nice HERE: https://motifri.com/rathernice/). This song sounds like something Jason Mraz or John Mayer might release, with the addition of ending harmonies that immediately reminded me of the Beatles. This song is also the most jazz-infused of the selection, with a good bossa nova vibe in it that you can sink into despite its brevity.
My favorite on the EP is “Stupid DMV,” probably because it has the most varied dynamics. After starting off with vocals and a light acoustic guitar (or perhaps it’s a ukulele), the drums and electric guitar quickly join the mix. The tongue-in-cheek subject of whining about being stuck at the DMV is something basically anyone can relate to (“Is it so much to ask / for this line to move an inch”). And that guitar solo is something so special, especially with Joe’s vocals layered behind it in the mix. I hope these guys keep bringing such joy and hilarity to the most mundane things.
“Thai Food” has a bit of a romantic quality to it as well, but with a lot more angst: “Laying here twenty dollars down the drain / shattered heart and a mouthful of Lo Mein / I’m sitting here with a ruined mood / eating Thai Food in the afternoon/” The guitar riff feels like something more in the pop-punk realm, so that means I immediately love it — obviously. Again, it’s something very typical, but these guys have managed to infuse so much emotion into a super short song with a pretty simple concept. But the thing is, when you dig into it, there are layers of poetic emotion within those inventive rhyme schemes. Don’t discount it for seeming simple – I’ve found sometimes the most effective art forms are straight to the point.
As you take the four minutes required to listen to this very brief EP, I think you’ll notice how smart and slick it is. These guys have said so much by saying so little, and that says the most of all.
Listen to Rather Nice on Spotify HERE: open.spotify.com/artist/4PFth2EYBdcDvVMs7y3BUr?si=Nb90K2i3SGKXYGoKbjLgQw; And on YouTube: youtube.com/channel/UC–kIq0aPEZGUxEGvOs2cQA