Tight Nuns - No Jewels (Cover Artwork)

Tight Nuns

No Jewels (2011)


No Jewels is a mature, extremely promising, and ton-of-fun piece of work. It feels honest throughout, without ever losing humour or perspective, whether in terms of lyrical content, production, technique or energy. Everyone involved should be incredibly proud of having been involved with this lovely (nay, beautiful) work of pop-punk/old-school emo.

The rhythms on this album are thoughtful and powerful, without ever coming across as condescending in that irritating prog-rock/mathcore way, serving to keep the listener's interest and make sure that heads bob throughout. What's really surprising, though, are the complex and powerful harmonies which come out just often enough to show that they're not flukes: Where a less sophisticated band (who likely believes themselves more sophisticated) would resort to discordant turns and minor chords to jar the listener into paying attention, Tight Nuns instead usually resort to beautiful and pleasant harmonies to elevate themselves above the raw energy and four-chord punk in which they generally work. In this, they are reminiscent of no less a band than the Lawrence Arms.

The real standout on this record, though, is melody; catchy and fun, it is always nevertheless delivered with sincerity and power. The scent of compromise is nowhere to be found, especially on standout tracks "Artistic License" and "Wasted". Lead vocalist Jordan Properkick sings and spits with the voice of a man twice his size and twice his age, and whether it is meant to or not, tearing out the word "Compleeeeeeeeete!" at the end of the bridge on "Artistic License" evokes real pain, no matter how many times one hears it (to cite just one example of the genuine emotional power present in this recording).

There is plenty more which could be said; I really could go on for some time. But in the end, I think it suffices to say that No Jewels instantiates all that is best in Face to Face, Jawbreaker, and early Down by Law, keeping the tradition of real emo alive squarely where it belongs: in the midst of fun, honest punk rock and hardcore. I can count on one hand, perhaps two, then number of contemporary bands which I think are as or more worthy of recognition as Tight Nuns, and it is a crime against art and popular culture that the most popular young rock bands today can live comfortably putting out the boring and shallow dreck they do in the light of bands like this one."

No Jewels EP