Words by Bill San Antonio

The next time you listen to NGHBRS’ debut full-length, Twenty One Rooms, do yourself a favor: shut your eyes.

Listen to the record in total darkness and try to picture lead singer Ian Kenny screaming into the microphone or pressing his fingers deep into the keyboard. Imagine the precision with which guitarist Thomas Fleischmann lets rip another eat-splitting solo. And if you do these things, you will know what it’s like to see NGHBRS for yourself, live and in concert, as their hometown crowd did July 19 at Revolution Bar & Music Hall on Long Island.

NGHBRS, which headlined the Friday show in commemoration of the release of Twenty One Rooms with supporting acts Coasta, Bears and Motorcycles, Heavy English (ex-Envy on the Coast) and Miles & Claws, recorded their full-length at the historic Cedarmere estate of poet William Cullen Bryant in Roslyn Harbor with producers Bryan Russell and former Envy drummer Dan Gluszak. And, to paraphrase an infamous tantrum of a certain Fox News talking head, NGHBRS did it live, recording songs on Twenty One Rooms without tracking each band member’s individual parts for mixing later.

What results is an album that sounds like a live show and a live show that sounds like an album, complete with beautiful glitches and imperfections that showcase the band’s immense talent – an album that far surpasses AbsolutePunk.com’s assertion that NGHBRS would be a “band to watch” in 2013. “We didn’t want to polish it too much, we didn’t want to overprotect it, and things that were off a lot of the time, we wanted to bring forward,” says Russell, who along with Gluszak also produced NGHBRS’ 2010 E.P. Hellomind. “We wanted the imperfection to shine through to prove that this is a live performance, and it highlights how good the playing is because the imperfections prove that it’s real.”

And man, did it get real at Revolution. The band roared through cuts off Twenty One Rooms and Hellomind for a sweaty and sultry and aggressive reaction to the recent heat wave that seemed it would never let up. Kenny thanked Russell and Gluszak for their support, thanked friends and family and fans for the album’s strong early reception, and stepped back to the microphone and into the darkness. It was the darkness that made all the difference.


TheWaster.com | Long Island