NARA are one of many bands growing steadily yet organically within Manchester’s alternative scene. Their latest release – ‘Let the Light in’ – epitomizes this, detailing the band’s allowance of their music to conceive itself through passive but thoughtful songwriting.
‘Let the Light in’ is exactly that. The chorus is one lyric – ‘then I woke up and let the light in’ – and chord progressions remain simplistic throughout. However, it’s all to the song’s benefit and the intricacy of the production provides all necessary sonic interest.
It’s a layered instrumental – the kind ‘90s rock was so accustomed to. There are occasions that remind of Oxford shoegazers Ride or the paradoxically downtrodden but satisfyingly flavourful aesthetic that Placebo perfected in the early ‘00s; NARA does at times sound vocally like a pitch-shifted Brian Molko.
These are hefty comparisons. Ride and Placebo are essential and canonical groups. But the band carries the torch with respect to the genre. The instrumental passages towards the end of the track progress ambiently – NARA do their predecessors great justice.
Their stylistic fingerprint lies in the performance – a particularly aggressive one, with Harry Catchpole providing NARA’s drums for the first time to contribute to this direct sound. Perhaps the overall band performance could be a touch tighter. Otherwise, NARA has accurately recreated a much-loved genre in their own audible image.