Album Review

​NOside - Rapidisassembly

Released September 11, 2015
Chad W. Lutz
​Born out of self-proclaimed "emotive rock" act Edison comes Cincinnati's own NOside, with a debut LP entitled Rapidisassembly. The eight-song record boasts a slathering of garage grunge filtered through artistic arrangements and lead singer Jack Macejko's gruff and often phlegmy yet poignant vocals. The sounds found on Rapidisassembly mirror the tough and regularly brutal landscapes of the Queen City but, much like Cincinnati, hold moments of pure musicality. The rhythms are bouncy, the drums ricochet with energy, and the melodies are driving, shadow playing with Macejko as he switches tempos consistently and floats between soft, melodious singing during the verses and near-screaming as the band flies into each chorus.

The opening track, "Something About Foxes" contains a catchy stagger-step sound that hooks the listener on the first go-round. It waltzes through your ears. The lyrics split the memorable harmonies and revel in the dissonance between what we thought the future would hold and what we're actually living. It seems the foxes have what we want and aren't letting go, and NOside might be a tad upset about it. "You said we'd flying in our cars, instead we're fighting in your wars." Amen.

Rapidisassembly moves on through the rising "Trees vs. Buildings" and then to the odd time signatures of "Lazarus Capri", which reads like a Tool song in terms of format but sounds more like if Foo Fighters married Radiohead. The song that really caught my attention was the slow, almost tribunal tribute to every Ohioans' favorite mental illness, Seasonal Affective Disorder, for which the song is named. "You'll probably find yourself lying on a mattress looking out one or two windows looking up at the white things that can probably kill you." Relentless like a detached tire rolling down a hot, lonely highway, the song feels deliberately sloth-paced, with fits of frenzied guitar, bass, and drums. It's one of the few songs where the vocals take a backseat and the instruments do most of the talking.

Following "Seasonal Affective Disorder" comes "Gash in the Stern", a sometimes self-deprecating and cynical look at love. "Is this space you occupy worth more than someone else's eyes?" The track features more of the same rock formats found throughout the rest of the album, which largely takes away from the song, but not enough to ruin its listenability. "Retail Prayer of the Kenwood Goose" is a page ripped right out of Dave Grohl's dreams. It's brash, bashing, and dynamic, with a driving intro way too eerily similar to "Everlong" for my blood. Featured in the song is a PA-like interlude that fades out with the end of the cut. It's a nice deviation and throws the listener off the band's tracks and slices through some of the monotony of the styles featured on Rapidisassembly.

"Britney" and "All in All" round out Rapidisassembly. I can't decide if "Britney" is supposed to be a love song, or if the lead singer has been plagued by someone who loves Britney Spears and can't get the pop star's songs out of his head. The chorus rolls: "You've got me singing Britney." It's times like these that stress the importance of excellent grammar. In this case, I'd love to know if there's supposed to be a comma to set off a signifier. Maybe that's the catch. If so, touché, NOside. Touché. "All in All" ends the LP with an Everclear-esque rocker, which is cohesive and demonstrates a larger scope of the band in terms of style. The only thing holding the album back for me is the predictability of each song. I listened to the album four times all the way through and regularly forget where I was in the track listing, with the lone exception "Seasonal Affective Disorder." But the songs are palatable and remind me of early Nirvana and any number of 90's alternative bands. Combined with airy arrangements, the rock heavy formats of NOside produce a sound that's coming together, one I can't wait to see evolve.