Since 2019, Jack Gudhart and Chris Fulton have put out a steady stream of genre-hopping songs as Analog Mountains. Their debut self-titled EP and various singles have spanned the stylistic gaps between psychedelia, chamber folk, and garage rock. The Nice EP, however, is the Carrboro/Durham duo’s longest and most cohesive release to date, featuring five songs filled with technicolor synths, sparkling guitars, and melodic bass lines that live between the borders of synth-pop and post-punk.
From the bouncing synth bass and crystalline arpeggio intro of title track “Nice,” Analog Mountains put hooks front and center. However, the shiny happy pop elements belie a darkness not so hidden away, as alluded in the opening lyric, “I’ve not been feeling very nice / Can’t keep from looking at the violence around me/ It’s too frequent / We’re not made to live like this.” If there is a running theme throughout the Nice EP, it would be hope in the face of overwhelming fragility.
Upbeat and danceable music juxtaposes with worried ruminations throughout the record. “Memories of Snow” pulses with four on the floor drums and a melodic bass hook, but laments that, “Evil men on mega yachts / without a thought for the have-nots / spend our future on their present-day pleasures.” The mostly instrumental sample-based track “Catastrophic” only has two lines, briefly repeated–“What’s happening? I just can’t take it all in”–before dissolving into a haze of fizzing synths and looping piano. At that moment, it seems the band will be crushed by malicious external forces.
“Don’t want to dance around it / It’s time to talk about it / I just want to enjoy this life and live in my own way,” Jack croons in closing track “Therapy.” As the song builds into a shimmering and cathartic groove he settles into a repeating mantra of, “I’m gonna work it out in therapy / I’m gonna work it out in my own way.” Here, on the heels of the EP’s most despondent moment, Analog Mountains’ lyrics finally match the music as the band finds–and expresses–its inner resolve.
"AFTER THE WAVE" b/w "IT GROWS"
ANALOG MOUNTAINS EP