Sound Advice: Ne-Hi with Cross Country (Feb. 25)

Chicago quartet Ne-Hi plays MOTR Pub.

click to enlarge Ne-Hi - Photo: Provided
Photo: Provided
Ne-Hi
“Offers,” the title song on Ne-Hi’s freshly minted second album, is a brief, slow-burn Psych rocker heavy on atmosphere and light on words (20, to be exact). It’s a curious left turn for a band known for the jangly, upbeat approach present in songs like the album’s opener, “Palm of Hand,” which brings to mind early R.E.M. fronted by Buzzcocks’ Pete Shelley instead of a mumble-mouthed Michael Stipe.

Ne-Hi frontman Jason Balla’s high whine of a voice punches through his own guitar lines and that of his fellow guitarist Mikey Wells, a combination that powered Ne-Hi’s stellar self-titled debut and continues here. But it’s the deft rhythm section (drummer Alex Otake and bassist James Weir) on rousing burners like “Prove,” from the new album, that is the icing on Ne-Hi’s cake.

The quartet was nurtured in the same Chicago scene that gave us Twin Peaks, a likeminded outfit that melds ’60s British Invasion with Indie staples like Guided by Voices and The Clean. And while Ne-Hi admits to such touchstones, it doesn’t have a set agenda before embarking on a new album — the songs arrive organically and then get tweaked from there.

“We have pretty much the same writing process as before, but with this record, the songs are more thoughtful,” Otake said of Offers in an interview with Paste last year. “We’ll still write it in a very visceral way. Some of our favorite songs (from) the new batch of songs are ones where we were jamming, and it sort of came out of (that). But then (we put) more thought into arrangements and having an identity for each song and stuff like that.” 

Click here for more info on this free show.

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