July 29th, 2013 | Album reviews

Dominique Purdy

Are You New Age?

Kevin Litrow of N O W (and formerly of 60-Watt Kid) is a dynamic performer and singer, at times nervous and at times exultant. His attempts to capture his own lightning on tape have eluded him a bit—despite the fact that N O W has been around for a couple years, this cassette EP only has three songs, one of which previously appeared as a single and download. That said, the songs are all prog-rock length without ever seeming overwrought or self-indulgent. The lyrics are beautiful aphorisms and homages to evangelical pulpit-speak (and therefore, vicariously, David Byrne). The music sounds layered and full of sophisticated studio wizardry to the untrained ear, but if you’ve seen N O W live, you know Litrow can actually summon this kind of ingenuity on demand, live-looping wah-wah keys, rhythms, and guitars into a lush Lego fortress of music all around him that he can then sing and dance over. But the lyrics are cleaner here than in a live set, so you can really follow his driving instructions to Malibu in the song “Drone of Dume.” My favorite track is the B-side, “The Good Life,” which dares you to prove your cynicism and decide: is he being honest, or ironic, when he says, “Love surrounds my soul?” The answer may lie in the gorgeous Gregorian self-piety the song ends with, a delicious never-ending crescendo of bubbling bright synth, shining like the sunset on a Point Dume mansion.
D.M. Collins