Head In The Sand (EP)

Nathan Oliver

Potluck Foundation Records, 2017


REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


Nathan Oliver is actually the name of this band, although the band's driving force is Nathan White. Having been dormant since 2009, the unassuming outfit is back with 20 minutes of punk-influenced alternative rock that sounds just as good today as it would have in 1994. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

“Marbles” leads off with a rumbling bass like an early Dischord album before a wild ride of noise, melody, and energetic punk rock ensues. It all sounds not unlike something that Sub Pop would have put out in the post-Nirvana craze. “Clean Sheets” follows and is a quieter affair with acoustic guitars and calmer singing before a chorus of more forcefulness that draws parallels to the almighty Pavement. “Little Belle” stays gentle throughout, featuring mild tension that threatens to explode but always retaining a firm, restrained college rock vibe.

By the fourth track, things get real interesting. This is especially true on “Exquisite Wait,” which is a sophisticated post-punk tune that seems like it could have been birthed in England in the '80s. It then segues into the darker, almost goth inflected “Sing Blue Silver,” which could easily have been squeezed in between videos from Sonic Youth and The Cure on 120 Minutes in the early days of alt-rock. “Kim Mi Young” closes the EP with guest vocals from Annie Chu and is the most ballad-like tune, offering a unique version of Americana before a powerful, memorable ending.

Oliver has a talented cast on hand for this third release, including members of Audobon Park and Hammer No More The Fingers. Although it's under half an hour in length (and reportedly took a year to complete), it makes a grand impression and is ideal for fans of moody punk, fuzzy indie, and intellectual grunge. Like any great EP, it leaves the listener declaring – or in this case pleading – “I want an LP!”

Rating: A-

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© 2017 Tom Haugen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Potluck Foundation Records, and is used for informational purposes only.