March 11, 2004

84 Nash "A Secret Reward"

I first heard of 84 Nash from my friend Kyle. He was a Dayton boy stuck in west Texas and far away from his native Ohio, and we bonded over a collective love of GBV, indie rock and One Guy's pizza. Anyway, one day he gave me a tape of this band, they were friends of his, and he thought I'd dig 'em. He was right! Trashy, lo-fi and rockin', these guys carried on the lo-fi aesthetic that I loved so much, with a sound all their own to boot. A Secret Reward is a reissue of their first album, and it's a really nice little slice of midwestern indie-rock.

What's most amazing about A Secret Reward is how decidedly non lo-fi they sound now. Instead of the trashy, poorly-recorded GBV-style toss-offs, you hear a band playing around with all different styles and sounds. From anthemic indie rock ("False Start") to heartfelt punk rock ("Mathematical Park"), they covered it all, and even had some brilliant casio-spiced weirdness a la the local heroes Brainiac ("Everybody's Gotta Skull," "Sign O' The Rhymes"). Most of the record plays close to the GBV card. When they get sweet, like on "Could This Be Love" and "Abs In Te Heart," they make me smile. When they pop off with the one-two punch of "Children in the Duty" and the closing balls-out boogie of "Get In Love," you'll realize that 84 Nash was (and still is, perhaps?) a potent little rock band at heart.

A Secret Reward is an apt title, because it's certainly a secret reward for those who have heard it. This is a hidden jewel, and thanks to Insect Siren for reissuing it. Well worth seeking out.

--Joseph Kyle

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