Album Review: Now, Now – Saved
Indie-rock. Electro-pop. Dream-pop. Bubblegum-pop. You can try to find a label for the Minneapolis duo, but ultimately Now, Now have carved out their own special place in the music industry with their long anticipated full-length Saved. The album is officially out today via Trans Records (Chris Walla of Death Cab For Cutie), making it their first full-length release since the cult-favorite, Threads, back in 2012, and one of the many reasons why we felt they were an artist to watch this year. KC Dalager and Brad Hale have seen trial, tribulation, and triumph in that time away from the stage, though it would be a mistake to deem their on-going silence for a well-earned break. The pair had worked diligently on new music while struggling to find themselves as a band throughout the years, but Saved is the perfect piece of evidence that proves, without a shadow of a doubt, that they totally figured it out.
In several interviews, Dalager shares that this album is the most personal and straightforward lyrically that she has ever been in the past. Especially with older tracks like “Lucie, Too” and “Threads”, there is a sense of vague and metaphorical storytelling, a tactic that is completely dismembered with this new album. Take, for example, the first single and opening track, “SGL”. The sugary, acoustic guitar-driven jam has a very upfront narrative of wanting to be with someone who’s only halfway there and the longing that comes with holding on. This song easily became a fan-favorite and grabbed the attention of many people in the industry as well, and it is still one of the standout tracks from the album–even a year after the song’s release.
Another standout track on the album is “Can’t Help Myself”. The retro-sounding intro sends flashbacks to Tegan and Sara’s Love You To Death (2016), a duo who has also shown their appreciation for the band’s musical maturation. What is so enticing about this song in particular is its dynamic progression, building similarly to that of “Shifting” (yes, we’re old school fans over here). It begins very airy and shallow instrumentally, with Dalager’s isolated vocals over some spaced out synth notes, before a little percussion taps in. As the song carries on, it builds up to a more robust, dreamy sound with layers upon layers of soft synth chords, creating a bit of a crescendo into its ending. As the first novel song on the album (as the first two tracks were previously released singles), this is a brilliant representation of Now, Now’s new ethereal sound.
Every song on the album has some combination of lighthearted synths, pulsating electronic beats, and Dalager’s sweet, velvety vocals, and yet there is no sense of repetitiveness or lackluster–each song truly has its own personality. The slow and soft energy of “Drive” gives off an early-2000’s ballad vibe. The hoppy, bubble-gum pop track “MJ” is a danceable remedy to any bad day. The final track, “Powder”, is such a strong ending to the album with the hauntingly powerful, ambient cadence. Taking all of these characteristics into consideration, the album as a whole is highly visual and illustrious. Think driving in the summer at sunset or dusk with someone you love–that’s what this album feels like.
The album also has a very touching theme surrounding love that is evident throughout–be it falling into it, waiting for it to come, or being wondrously in that state. Even instrumentally, the album is so vibrant and imaginative that if “love” had a sound, it would sound like Saved. Songs like “Yours”, “Window”, and “Set It Free” are great examples of this proclamation lyrically, and are also the most infectious musically. We already deemed this to be the star album to drive around in the summer with, but it has potential for so much more than just a summer fling.
Saved is definitely a collection of very distinct songs, and yet there is no lack of flow or hesitation as you listen from start to finish. For an album that was heavily experimental for the band, there is no doubt that this will send them places they have yet to see before. Though they struggled with the band’s identity and sound leading up to this point, Saved–the sonic byproduct of that exploration–is genuinely the best piece of work they have released to date.
Saved Track Listing:
Can’t Help Myself
Set It Free
Upcoming Tour Dates:
5/17-19 – Brighton, UK @ The Great Escape Festival
5/21 – Manchester, UK @ Night People
5/23 – Berlin, DE @ Cassiopeia
5/24 – Cologne, DE @ Artheater
5/26 – Amsterdam, NL @ London Calling
5/27 – Paris, FR @ The Olympic Cafe
7/7 – Chicago, IL @ Lincoln Hall
7/8 – Pontiac, MI @ Pike Room
7/9 – Toronto, ON @ Adelaide Hall
7/11 – Cambridge, MA @ Middle East Downstairs
7/12 – Brooklyn, NY @ Baby’s All Right
7/13 – Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda’s
7/14 – Washington, DC @ Songbyrd
7/15 – Carrboro, NC @ Local 506
7/17 – Atlanta, GA @ The Masquerade
7/18 – Nashville, TN @ Exit/In
7/20 – Dallas, TX @ Club Dada
7/21 – Austin, TX @ Stubb’s Jr.
7/23 – Phoenix, AZ @ Rebel Lounge
7/24 – San Diego, CA @ Casbah
7/25 – Santa Ana, CA @ Constellation Room
7/27 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Troubadour
7/28 – San Francisco, CA @ The Independent
7/30 – Seattle, WA @ Crocodile
7/31 – Vancouver, BC @ Biltmore
8/1 – Portland, OR @ Doug Fir
8/3 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court
8/4 – Denver, CO @ Globe Hall