When I get an email from a promotions person about a band that says FFO Off With Their Heads, Alkaline Trio and Banner Pilot, my interested quickly gets peaked. This happened recently when I received an email about the new punk rock band Nadir. The three piece from New York feature Robbie Swartwood (also a member of Off With Their Heads) on vocals and guitar, Mike Foti on bass and Arthur Bergevin on drums. In February they self released their debut album Collecting Misery.
Collecting Misery begins with the ominous sounding Doomed From The Start. The first thing that struck me about the song was the quality of the recording. It sounds almost like a demo version but you soon get over that and quickly begin to enjoy a melodic pop punk song packed with hooks. The introduction for the song builds nicely and when Swartwood's vocals come in the song is built up enough than you're itching to sing-along. This is a fine way to begin the album. Up next is Rope Burns. Like the previous song, there is quite a long build up leading to that great moment when the vocals come in. It's quickly clear that Nadir are masters of the subtle build. The structure of the song means it each section seems to build towards the next without really hitting a massive high. This is great for keeping the energy of the song high without being over the top.
Buried Above Ground has a higher tempo than the previous two songs and this seems to also increase the intensity of the track whilst keeping that infectious melody that's everywhere on Collecting Misery. Something I really enjoyed on the track was the rumbling bass lines from Foti, these bring the tone of the song down somewhat as well as giving it a fuller sound. The album's title track, Collecting Misery, comes next. Changing things up somewhat, this is an acoustic track. My first thought was this was a strange place to put the song in the order of the album but I guess it's the last song on the first side of the record so, in a way, it does make sense. The song itself is superb. There is an upbeat feel to the track despite it being quite a sad song about losing someone and not knowing where they are.
Early Graves begins the second half of Collecting Misery. Switching back to the full band, this song sounds so much heavier after the previous acoustic number. It starts out with some fuzzy guitars alongside a pounding drumbeat that drives the song throughout. Due to the production of the album, this drumbeat does overshadow the vocals slightly but it does sound as if Swartwood is singing with much more of a snarl than anywhere previously on the album. The sixth track is named Paper Trails and reverts back to the more melodic pop punk sound. This really feels like the song that will get the biggest reaction at a Nadir gig, particularly the line "don't bother telling me that there's no good reason to live." This is Nadir at their most positive.
The penultimate song is the very sombre titled Born To Die Alone. Bringing back the acoustic guitar, Nadir do this lovely thing where they layer it beneath the electric creating this wonderful harmonised effect. As I'm sure you've guessed from the song’s title, it's a sad one about pushing people away as you feel as if you're destined to be alone forever. This is one I'm sure many people will sadly relate to but will perhaps find some comfort that they're not the only ones to feel like this. Collecting Misery finishes with Back Home. Going back to the full band sound one last time ensures the album finishes with quite the bang. It's full of energy and gives you a big feeling of empowerment throughout. I really want to sing every word of this song back at the band and loudly as I possibly can.
It's always interesting to hear projects from people who aren't necessarily the lead in their main band. Nadir are great and Collecting Misery is a great showcase of Swartwood's songwriting ability. I liked the variation in the songs and the two acoustic tracks really give the album a fresh style rather than just being eight melodic pop punk tracks. I'm a big fan of Collecting Misery.
Stream and download Collecting Misery here: https://nadir666.bandcamp.com/releases
Like Nadir here: https://www.facebook.com/nadirbandus/
This review was written by Colin Clark.