Nomads – Nomads

NOMADS cover art

Artist Nomads
Album Nomads
Genre Post-Rock / Ambient
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Label Independent
Release 24 Dec 2012
Rating Solid

Nomads are an unsigned 3-piece band post-rock band from Ohio, which has quietly overtaken Texas as the most dominant post-rock region in America. Despite very little promotion, their self-titled debut album has been streamed over 10,000 times on bandcamp in its first month. For being a 100% self-produced album the production qualities are solid, far more so than the majorities of releases we’ve seen so far in 2013.  The band’s style is primarily straight forward 3rd wave post-rock that walks on the lighter side of the genre.

The 11-track, 42-minute album kicks off with a short one minute piano intro “Moses” before leaping into “Cleaveland On The Square“, a track that doesn’t try to do too much by staying relatively mellow. Smooth bass lines flow as free as the cymbals that crash in wide open spaces as guitar work drives the track forward. “Surveying The Western Reserve” is a track that optimizes the peaks and valleys post-rock formula by coming to a snail’s pace lull at multiple points in the track. The valleys are relatively ambient “twinkly” moments while the peaks build to the point where you think the band is ready to shed the lighter aura they’ve created on the album. It’s almost as if the band has chosen to be tastefully loud to play it safe, finding a happy medium as not to turn away ambient fans while still satisfying those who prefer the heavier breakdowns the post-rock genre offers.

“Heading North” is yet another one minute transitional track and while it serves its purpose, I would have rather seen this track and the two other one-minute transitional/setup tracks on the album worked into the tracks that lead into or follow them as to not unnecessarily inflate the track count. I suppose that’s a minor complaint though and the album is the same regardless. “Home” is the longest track on the album at over nine minutes in length and starts with an elegant piano intro that sees spiraling crescendo guitar-work hover in the deepest depths of the background as it slowly forges its way forward. With an ambient center that divides the track, “Home” finishing strong and giving the song a strong case for Nomad’s best work on this album.

Carter and The Banks of the Cuyahoga” opens with this really rustic guitar work that sets the track a part from the rest of the album. The drumming in this track catches the ear and the song itself is one of the heavier tracks found on the album. “Forest City” is a short little acoustic piece that fits in well leading up to “Unwritten Stories of the Towpath Trail” , a track in which deep bass give it a much heavier feel than it actually is. “Guardians of the City” is a wide open track that builds upon itself and before you really notice it simply overpowers you in its finale before the album comes to a close with the atmospheric ambience of “Peace on the Great Lake”.

While enjoyable, Nomad’s first effort didn’t blow me away by any means. There are certainly a lot of things musically that I like about this album and there are other things that can be improved upon. Save for “Home ” and “Carter and The Banks of the Cuyahoga“, I just found the band’s generally soft nature to be a little underwhelming and really wish the band had turned their heavy side loose a bit more. For that, I have to rate this album as solid. That being said I’m certain there will be others who fall in love with the very charming nature of this album. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least bit to see Nomads supporting some of the bigger post-rock names of the state of Ohio and the surrounding area in the future.