‘First Week Here’
Roughly two years into its existence, the unassumingly named seven-piece known simply as Nancy has created an ear-bending debut EP. There are certainly facile comparisons to be made to The Saplings, another fresh-faced band with several Eastman alums in it, making energetic pop music complete with a vibrant horn section.
But Nancy’s “First Week Here” makes its own imprint with a penchant for explorative jazz music. Led by keyboardist Sam Caldwell, the band weaves its way through shifty modal harmonies that leave the listener with a feeling that’s disorienting but completely engrossing. Though Caldwell and bassist Rafael Enciso split composer duties, the yield is cohesive.
Drummer Ben Combs’s low-key, trip-hop sensibility and Caldwell’s straightforward, smooth pop vocal melodies root the music in a tactile groove that balances well with the untethered dreaminess of the horns. With Eugene Bisdikian handling the mix and the majority of the engineering, the EP possesses a high-fidelity sound that has subtle moments of haze in all the right places. Lyrically, the songs navigate the rocky terrain of youthful romance, with all the tell-tale signs of infatuation, suspicion, and lust.
“First Week Here” serves as an excellent four-song calling card for a band that seems tailor-made for a spot in future Rochester jazz festivals. It’s a thought. What do you think, John Nugent?
Daniel J. Kushner is CITY’s music editor. He can be reached at email@example.com.