by Allison Kridle
Once you hear the Omaha-born band Navy Gangs it’s all over. Their catchy, distorted melodies hunker down inside you like plant roots taking refuge within the folds of your brain. Your head will rejoice, however, because these are the wailing guitars and punchy rhythms it wants flourishing inside it. The five piece DIYers have found their home in Brooklyn as they wrote and produced their first ever LP Poach following their self titled EP from 2016. Yes, the EP containing the hoppy garage ditty “Mondays.” See? It sticks like crazy glue.
If you are like me and craved more tracks from Navy Gangs after listening to their EP ten times in a row, it’s finally time to indulge once again because Poach has not four, but 14 songs. However, instead of experiencing a fuzz overdose, Poach lets you walk through valleys of easy listening slow jams to let’s jump around and kick our legs out. There’s more room for new experiences.
Lead vocalist and guitarist, Matthew Tillwick, expressed in the track “Housekeeping” that embracing change is something he’s wont to do. Next to aching riffs he sings. “You’ve really made yourself at home/Everything’s not where it usually is/It’s your own feng shui/i really love what you’ve done with the place.” “Housekeeping” was the first single they released and right off the bat listeners knew they could slow down and dwell in more space this go around.
Space and breathing room isn’t hard to come by in the other singles, “1Alone” and “Awkward Exchange” either. The album’s opener, “1Alone” pulls you into crunchy riffs from a white atmosphere in just a few seconds. The wailing guitar almost sounds like Slowdive if the shoegaze band played with more fuzz. “Awkward Exchange” makes it feel like you are floating among satellites as you are quickly grounded when Tillwick sings, “I haven’t shed a tear since I was still a teen now I’m 23/ Stuck somewhere I’m in between/A feel-good comedy.”
If you’re looking to get moody, those three tracks are a good place to start, but no life is worth living without songs like “Mondays.” The math rocky track “Carrot Tops” is a beautiful construction of both. You can daze off while twisting your mind a little. The sugary and spastic, “Just Kidding Not” glides along as Tillwick and company yelp, “I never want to be alone again.” Perhaps the most melodious and instrumentally busy song, “Set Alarm,” is easy to get on board with. Tillwick talks about giving oneself more opportunities for new things and not always feeling like you have to occupy your time with the “same shit.”
Ever since Poach released, I realized that there’s only so much you can take from a band who has released less than a handful of tracks, even if they’re exciting and addictive. Navy Gangs have shown their many sides and depth with Poach. We’re not just hanging out in the garage or at Trans-Pecos now.