Nothington - More Than Obvious [7-inch] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


More Than Obvious [7-inch] (2011)

Red Scare

When a band plays acoustically, there's a certain element of danger. No longer can they count on feedback and volume masking the bum notes or flat singing. Talent takes over, and the true colors of a song come out. Nothington is no stranger to this, having included acoustic songs on their previous releases, acting as a balance to straight-ahead rockers such as "A Mistake" or "Where I Stand".

More Than Obvious starts off with "Not Looking Down", reworking the song from the band's 2009 release, Roads, Bridges and Ruins. Slowing the song down a step brings out the emotion in Chris Matulich's voice, and the familiarity of the song instantly draws the listener in.

Playing acoustically is an easy fit for the band, and while it would be easy to simply rehash favorites from their catalog, they instead choose entirely new songs to build their instrumentation around. Hints of strings and/or horns subtly weave in and out of the standout title track, and the sounds of a banjo being softly plucked accompanies Jay Northington and company on "In Flames". Only the album's second song, "Tired Hearts" retains the signature electric sound Nothington is known for.

The dueling vocals of Matulich and Northington, a staple of the band's sound, particularly shine on "At the End of the Day". Only the album's closing song, "Down the Road", falls on its side. Starting with only a guitar and harmonica, it just never seems to lift off from its beginning, and is a somewhat rambling end to an otherwise great EP.

For a band that's built such a solid reputation on songs with loud guitars and passionate, screaming vocals, More Than Obvious is a nice change of pace. At least until the next full-length comes out, and fans can get back to pumping their fists.