Pitchfork (Website) - "THOUGHT ROCK FISH SCALE is an album brimming with passion and protest. It finds confidence in humility, power in relaxation."
Nova Scotian indie quartet Nap Eyes return with Thought Rock Fish Scale, a thoughtfully distilled companion piece to their 2015 debut, Whine of the Mystic. As with its predecessor, the LP was recorded live to tape with no overdubs, further cementing Nap Eyes' transparent methodology that places songwriting and performance above all else. There is nothing flashy or dramatic about their brand of rock, which has been compared to acts like Bedhead, the Go-Betweens, and most frequently the Velvet Underground, but their spare guitar meditations and the lyrical acuity of frontman and songwriter Nigel Chapman reveal many hidden layers to discover. On the surface, there is an immediate continuity with their debut, but a closer listen suggests this second chapter is a much more understated and spatial affair. The simplicity of a track like "Stargazer," with its pleasingly laid-back refrain, belies the rigorous self-examinations contained within, and that's a big part of Thought Rock Fish Scale's charm. It's a windows-down day-tripper with a meandering, introspective heart that's as dark, light, and inviting as the northerly Maritime Province where it was made. Captured in a somewhat dry, small-roomed fidelity, the band cruises along amiably on low-key rockers like "Click Clack" and the catchy "Roll It," stretching out appropriately on the slowly unfurling emotional highlight "Alaskan Shake." The performances are unfussy and cohesive, lending a gentle backbone to Chapman's dryly delivered intonations as together they meld poetry, guitars, and rhythms into their late-afternoon mix. With this sophomore record, Nap Eyes offer a subtle gem that ultimately improves on their debut. ~ Timothy Monger