Sunday, October 09, 2022

Nation of Language are Back with Melancholy Single 'From the Hill'

2022 brings yet another musical treat in the form of the return of Nation of Language, who are sharing their first new music since 2021’s 'A Way Forward'

The band's new offering feels a little like an outlier in the landscape of sound of the Brooklyn trio's previous work, a departure in some ways from the sound of the album it follows which may or may not provide any hints about what direction Nation of Language are going to take next. 

There is a distinct feeling that they have enjoyed playing with the additional freedom that a single release allows, working on the way the song is supposed to sound in isolation rather than in its place within a broader project, and the result sounds meticulously put together and carefully refined.

That being said, 'From the Hill' is not a complete detachment from the sound Nation of Language have embraced in the past, which has rightfully placed them among some of the most interesting new bands to innovate the pop-rock landscape. Here the mellow backdrop of the track is interspersed with electronic distortions, the almost-ballad rhythm of the vocals openly contrasting with the bouncy, quasi-disco style of the rhythm section. The song gains a depth from it that is reminiscent of the glories of pop in the late 80s', a vintage mood that goes hand in hand with the general melancholy of a track that explores, in the band’s own words, the disgregation of friendships when disrupted by romantic entanglement.

There is certainly an atmosphere of longing pervading a track that is nonetheless catchy and danceable. It's a softer, less frantic kind of pop to challenge the plasticky counterparts which populate the radio charts. In this, 'From the Hill' is fully representative of Nation of Language’s self-reflective, dreamy mood, owing perhaps something to trance music and club atmospheres. The type of synth-infused pop found here is becoming more and more frequent, successfully cultivated by bands on both sides of the Atlantic (think for instance of Ireland’s Just Mustard) and which represents one of the most intriguing trends in pop music at the moment. Nation of Language can well be credited as being among the spearheads of this development, and this new single confirms that they are still riding the wave.

Chiara Strazzulla


Image: Shervin Lainez

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