Namelessnumberheadman – Your Voice Repeating

Your Voice Repeating

Namelessnumberheadman’s (NNHM) debut full-length took me by complete surprise. As much as the typical music-listening person wants simple labels and simple music, NNHM defies labels and doesn’t really make simple music. By mixing lo-fi pop sensibilities with modern electronic beats, synths, and synthetic sounds, NNHM can sound different on every track and with every listen. Although not surprised by the Kansas City trio’s sophomore release, I’m no less blown away.
If genres meant anything, one might describe NNHM’s sound as electronic lo-fi indie pop, with hints of bands as disparate as The Flaming Lips, Grandaddy, the Notwist, and the Postal Service heard on these tracks. But NNHM doesn’t sound like any of them; this is a unique style, blending sweet, embracing pop structures with intricate beats, textured synths, and stellar songwriting. If you still can’t imagine what NNHM sounds like, I don’t blame you, but that only means the album should be required listening.
This album cemented itself into my subconscious when the second track, “Every Fiber,” bursts out of the intro track with a crescendo of guitars and crashing drums and fades into the most glorious pop song, light and dreamy and psychedelic in tone. “Full & Frayed” feels deceptively simple, with soft vocals and acoustic guitars playing over some hushed beats, giving the band a bit of a Radiohead feel, while my favorite track, “Going to Breathe Again,” mixes vocals, beats, guitars, and synths into one glorious, swirling song that’s surprisingly personal in feel while upbeat enough to be catchy. The textured beats on “Attic Fan” contrast nicely with the soft piano and soft vocals.
Occasionally the band lets the indie-pop take a second place to the electronic, as on the inherently danceable “Tension Envelopes,” but there’s organic guitars here keeping the track grounded, and the track quickly changes tone to a mellow, almost country feel with lap steel providing a mood that wouldn’t be out of place on a Will Oldham track. I doubt another band, anywhere, could pull off such contrasting tones so well in one fantastic song. There’s some interesting electronic elements on the more instrumentally themed “Mid-Continent” and “(At Least) Three Cheers for Cause & Effect” as well, both taking soaring, textured approaches.
Put the cumbersome band name – taken from a character in Steven Soderbergh’s film Schizopolis – out of your head; NNHM is not difficult to listen to or enjoy, it’s just difficult to define. The music here is actually quite beautiful, for even with synthesizes and electronic beats, NNHM’s music is enveloping and lovely. With lush texturing and impeccable production, Your Voice Repeating is a brilliant release, and one without a doubt worth repeating.