NAKED - Youth Mode
Along with Claude Speeed and Sevendeaths, NAKED are part of a darker group of LuckyMe artists who have little in common with the bright dance sound the Scottish label is usually associated with. The trio's music belongs to a different world: this is sparse, late-hours indie rock doused in reverb, with plaintive guitar leads that recall acts like Young Marble Giants or The xx. Like those bands, NAKED use silence as a device more powerful than any noise they could make, though vocalist Agnes Gryczkowska is a striking presence. Her voice soars and swoops on "Void," carves out a head-nodding melody with wordless syllables on "Bubble," and becomes part of the instrumentation on the wounded "Doubt." She's a nice foil for the expressive guitar, which takes the lead on some tracks and melts into a silvery shimmer in others.
But even when they sound confident, the group hew a bit too close to their synth pop and post-punk influences. "Bubble" tries hard to sound retro by riding a ratty old drum machine, while the defeated crawl of "Memory Almost Full" could have been a lost track on Factory. On "Voyeur," NAKED reshape those vintage drum sounds into a makeshift trap rhythm, a move that adds modernity to what can occasionally feel like backwards-looking music.
"In Heaven," a bonus track on the Japanese edition of the EP, better demonstrates NAKED's potential, highlighting the deftly brilliant guitar playing and Gryczkowska's squeaky upper register. Here NAKED sound more singular. Otherwise, Youth Mode shows a group who have the elements of a great sound in place but are still figuring out how to make it their own.
Wed / 27
B1 Memory Almost Full