Build Nest, Sleep – s/t

Back in 1986, the UK music rag New Musical Express released a cassette in partnership with Rough Trade Records. The cassette, dubbed C86, featured a slew of up-and-coming bands. The tape became somewhat legendary as many of those bands (Primal Scream, The Wedding Present) went on to achieve indie and even mainstream success. But the compilation’s lasting influence derives primarily from its establishment of an indie-rock genre, simply called “C86.”

These days, C86 has become shorthand for a kind of shambolic, loose, agitated sound, perhaps embodied most by the compilation’s bands The Wolfhounds, bIG fLAME, and (again) early Wedding Present. And the band Build Nest, Sleep — intentionally or not — has continued this tradition with its self-titled album.

Build Nest, Sleep embodies a winning kind of youthful energy and borderline naivete that gives its music the kind of spirit you can’t fake. Add in the loud, overdriven guitars and off-kilter singing and the whole thing really takes you back in time. It’s a collision between Beat Happening, 14 Iced Bears, and Edsel Auctioneer, updated with some Pavement and Archers of Loaf. The playing isn’t complicated but it’s solid. The lyrics aren’t deep, but they’re often thoughtful; at times, you’ll probably find yourself wondering whether their absurd simplicity masks some sort of put-on. Witness “Let’s go home to me / I have a TV” (on “I Have a TV”) or “I want to get drunk without drinking” (on “Stop Thinking”).

When things turn to the topic of love, as in the song “She’s Got Red Hair Like Lightning From Heaven,” the artless, reductionist expression of feeling just works: “I really like your style / I really like your smile” would sound ridiculous coming from most bands. And then there’s this line from the song “Ice Cream”: “What good would ice cream do / When the problem is me and you?”

So, enough about the words. If you’re a fan of energetic indie rock with post-punk leanings — loud guitars with some odd notes and detunings and noise thrown in — then this album is for you. There are moments of moxie (“Ice Cream,” “This Is Me,” “Stop Thinking”) and there are moments of near-shyness (“Little You Wants To Fly”). Some songs use both devices, and just about every song wants to burst from its exuberance at one point or another.

Informed as much by the Sonic Youths and Raymond Brakes as it is by the original C86 spirit, Build Nest, Sleep’s first album brings together familiar noise but does so with great charm. I hope that these Norweigans get a chance to play the UK or the States because I think they’d go over very well and I’d bet that their live show would be fantastic.