If ever you need to turn your life into a John Hughes movie montage (for…reasons), might I suggest the Non-Commissioned Officers’ Variables? This album is unapologetically upbeat and borderline disgustingly fun. You could do dishes to this album and it would be a party.
In general, the album has a mid-late-90s vibe with some 60s surf-rock influences—there are a few spots that remind me of specific Smashing Pumpkins, Foo Fighters, and Billy Joel songs—but the Non-Commissioned Officers are still modern. Their use of electronic elements and backing vocals is definitely a contemporary indie feature.
And then there’s the album’s single “Ahead of the Wave,” which is just right out of an old teen beach movie. You can’t help but picture surfboards strapped to woodies, pig-tailed girls in high-waisted bikinis, and palm trees in the background. It’s this track that brought them to the top of the Feedbands charts, I believe, and it’s easy to see (or hear) why. It’s delightfully enjoyable, and if you can keep yourself from dancing, you are a stronger person than I.
The record itself, however, seems to contrast the music it holds. Feedbands calls the color “Orange Cream Soda Pop,” and while the name perfectly suits the album, the actual vinyl does not. It’s more of an off-color eggshell with some gray and yellow smears. Of course, we all know that making vinyl records is an inexact art, no one can ever really say for sure quite how the records will turn out. And if my biggest complaint with the album is the color of the vinyl, that’s a pretty good sign.
I’m liking the cover art a lot, though. This jacket could very easily be framed as wall art and anyone seeing it would be none the wiser as to the fact that it’s a record jacket. I’m not about the origin of the art itself, but it has a Lichtenstein-esque quality to it, although with squares rather than dots. The back features a slightly altered, grayscale version of the cover, which I like; it pulls everything together.
When it comes right down to it, whether you’re looking for a good time or just some good art, you can’t go wrong with this record.
Variables is available in the Feedbands store in 180g Ice Cream Soda Pop (shown here) and standard weight black.
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