It has been interesting to see how the trail of underground punk has altered and evolved over the last few years; or at the very least, from the route on which I have found myself. Over the last two years, there has been a very gradual but solid revival of emo, a genre somewhat redefined by the early 00's post-screamo boomers. But I wont give you a history lesson in the chronology of the emo/screamo scene, as, frankly, I'm not educated enough on the subject. Look it up.
However, it's fair to say that Nai Harvest do. Finding themselves as fair spearheads for the modern emo resurgence, their get up and go ethics, punk enthusiasm and thirst for shows has found them a place on an the modern map of emo (or something). Noted for their fair use of the twiddle and dismissal of the power chord, they built themselves a reputation within the emo/punk/hardcore scene for their seeming mastering of combining the sensibilities of emo and making it catchy as hell. The song "The Bikes And The Basement" was arguably the tipping point for a lot of hardcore kids to consider emo in a way they hadn't before, if at all. The song is formidable, in terms of craft. From the smart, yet tight and powerful drumming to the delicious arpeggio harmonic tapping guitar. A key factor in Nai Harvest's force is their clear understanding of the genre they are in, their representation of the other genres that represent them and their unabashed enthusiasm to create something passionate and distinctly their own.
With a few years under their belt and a chance to settle into themselves comes the release of 'WHATEVER', their album. In truth, this album is the album they were supposed to make. It represents everything about what made the band distinctive. Despite clearly wanting to lessen the usage of the twiddle and implement a stronger college rock edge to their sound, it would be foolish to say that this isn't the same band that they started as. Taking in more of a well rounded influence from heavy 90s grunge and college rock bands, 'WHATEVER' seals the archive of the band's catalogue into a tidy package. And you can see the bands development in the actual album. The eponymous opening track bares a lot of similarities, in terms of aesthetic, to the band's earlier work, to be totally pushed aside for the more straight and to the point 'FLOOR' which follows after. It almost feels like a conscious effort to say: 'Do you remember what we used to sound like? Like this, yeah. Well, whatever, we've moved on. You've had a sucker-taste of our old sound, and here is how we sound now". This might be one of the best releases this year so far. I highly recommend it.