That Alex Napping’s music ripened between its two albums isn’t surprising given that the six-song Bedroom came out not long after the group’s formation and nearly four years went by (the two-song Trembles release from last year — based on a short story written by the band’s compelling, enigmatic vocalist and guitarist Alex Cohen — hinted at the growth, justifiably garnering broader attention from the likes of NPR and BBC Radio 1). It’s the extent of the artistic progression that is so impressive, a testament to the musicians’ inspired, confident vision and their ability to realize it so successfully.
Alex Napping’s intoxicating blend of ethereal Pop, clean, serene and colorful Shoegaze and hyper-melodic Indie Rock irresistibly recalls artists from AltRock’s formative ’90s, as well as a few of today’s Indie Pop redefiners, but it more significantly evokes some of music’s more futuristic-minded visionaries. The quartet’s debut for indie imprint Father/Daughter Records, Mise En Place refracts the vivacity of bands like Lush, The Spinanes and Vampire Weekend through a kaleidoscope lens similar to ones employed by groundbreaking stargazers from Kate Bush to Björk to St. Vincent. But it still results in a signature sound all Alex Napping’s own, transcending the Guitar Pop platitudes of Bedroom and ending up in a more blissfully undefinable realm.
With distinctive, uniquely structured songs that are dreamy without being sleepy and familiar without ever being predictable, Mise En Place shows Alex Napping to be one of the more captivating acts in contemporary Indie Pop.