Dirt Nap – Long Songs for Short Term Friends

Dirt Nap
Long Songs for Short Term Friends

Kansas City’s four-piece affectionately known as Dirt Nap has been crafting its perfect blend of high-skilled, angular and emotional indie rock since 1991. However, the group has been in the woodwork for some time now as current members were quite busy in their involvement in talented bands such as Season to Risk, thestringandreturn, and The Stella Link. After the recording its debut album Below the Speed of Sound, the group kept a low profile, playing a local show here and there while preparing material for what would later become the Long Songs album. Currently the band has emerged from hibernation and is intent on making its presence widely known by an extensive round of touring and a phenomenal 10 song follow-up to their long out-of-print record.
All of their time was well spent as the group has managed to produce one of the most powerfully haunting and melodically beautiful releases to date. In fact the album seems to have an aura about it that would make it genre bending, appealing to fans of hardcore, indie rock, and emo (although I use the term very loosely). The group manages to effectively demonstrate its many influences by nodding to the hard-hitting power of Shiner, the wall of sound guitars of Hum, the melodically whininess and angularity of Castor, and the experimental infusing of Failure. Still, Dirt Nap develops its own sound extremely well, crafting songs that are heavy hitting yet are still emotional and melancholy. Combine all of these factors with brutally sincere and honest lyrics, top-notch recording quality, and aesthetically pleasing thematically oriented packaging and you’ve got one of the better records to come out this year.
The music gets off to a great start with “Resign” an extremely catchy and melodic number that packs a hell of a punch. William Smith’s vocals drive the song into a new territory, exploring the pain of past relationships without sounding sappy or trite. Smith’s and Wade Williamson’s guitars remain tight and harmonically distorted while Vandeven’s bass lines fill in the gap nicely between Pete LaPorte’s intricate and powerful drumming. “Thin Air” pounds in equally as hard showcasing a similar style to older Shiner (i.e. Lula Divinia) yet creating something totally new and exciting. The song gets even more dramatic during a breakdown near the middle where the group pounds out heavy choruses that make you want to move about.
I find the third track, “To Stay Surprised,” to be one of my favorites on the record, although the choice is made quite difficult because in all honesty every track remains solid and unique. The band is really able to demonstrate more of its powerful emotion that hits the listener hard yet comforts them through common life experiences in pain and agony. “Obsolete” again remains top-notch and heavy-hitting. “Perception” mixes up things a bit by having Failuresque parts into the mix via ebows and delays. The choruses as usual remain catchy and rocking.
“The Conversation Piece” starts things with a slower ambience beginning courtesy of a broken analog delay pedal and manages to showcase the true versatility and creativity of the band. “So Far So Bad” is a little slower and more melancholy than usual and manages to demonstrate Willamson’s proficient knowledge of synthesizers in the form of a low organ drone. The rest of Long Songs continue to finish and rock things out, and it feels good as hell. “Platonic Plague” becomes quite interesting midway through the song when the band uses a brilliant mix of delay and distortion to take the song to new heights, definitely not to be missed. “In a Better Place Now” is an instrumental piece that again is very spacey and complex. Things finish up on “Winter,” which features some fantastic vocals from Smith that capture the true essence of the piece. The band provides a nice mix of cascading guitars and melodic lines.
Longs Songs for Short Term Friends shows the full spectrum of human emotion; it’s crushingly heavy when it wants to be, it’s slower and introspective when it desires, and it manages to show the skill and depth that most bands could only dream about. In a time when life is full of so much uncertainty, complexity, and confusion, Dirt Nap is able to provide the right amount of insight to a self-reflective journey that has never been so enjoyable.