“Start Talking” picks up just where their demo left off and pulls us in just the way we like. It’s a nod back to early high school, like young teen defiance, pop punk, tender sunburnt skin, and the late summer nights you dream of in December. This ambles effortlessly into “Molasses” – Mars’ way with long dragging vowels lets us sink right in, “slow, like molasses slow.” “Cut It Off” starts abruptly with powerful drums, a vocal immediacy, a repetitive guitar to keep us jumping, and a swell of harmonies and pounding chords, which lead us right into “Visitors,” an angsty track about dissonance, distance, and probably breakups. This moves us so fittingly into “In Sickness pt. 1,” the first of two parts of a somber tune. Mars sings, “it don’t take practice to bruise like this.” This tender interlude is a vulnerable and quiet slowdance.
“For The Inverted,” the first single from the album, takes us back to punchy drums, and talk of Southern charm (“Reel me in, I feel it’s true”) and they do exactly that with a low and rumbly bass and fuzzy guitars, which fade into “The Rind,” another familiar tune. How many mixtapes have you put this on? Don’t lie about it, don’t be ashamed. Some cutie is on your mind, you want them to be “in the company of someone like me”… I mean, you. “What’s Eating Me?” is perhaps the quintessential song of queer heartbreak. Mars belts “who could love me anymore?” – relatable, catchy, and sad, like our hearts sometimes. “Howl” catches us off guard with a intimate acoustic introduction, but moves into sweet harmonies, and ends so fittingly with a chorus of howlers. “In Sickness, pt. 2,” the second part of the interlude carries the same somber guitar melody, and is a short and tender note on trust and loneliness. The album concludes with “In Dog Years,” a perfect summer tune. The guitar riffs will get stuck in your head in no time, and you’ll be singing along for weeks to come, I swear. It’s happening to me right now.
Certainly, Unleash Yourself will become your go-to for car rides long and short, for days on the beach, for brunch with your besties, and at the very least, will give you more songs to put on mixtapes for new cuties.
Catch Aye Nako at their record release show tonight, May 31st in Brooklyn (I know I’ll be there), or all over the East Coast in June and July, including Idapalooza and Ladyfest! Stream the album on their website, or pick up a copy at one of their tour dates this summer!
May 31: Brooklyn, NY @ Silent Barn w/ Fucking Dyke Bitches, Dick Binge, Yva Las Vegass
June 1: Washington D.C. @ CD Cellar w/ Forty Whacks, Lisa Drank
June 2: Durham, NC @ The Pinhook
June 3: Asheville, NC – tba
June 4: Athens, GA @ Hotel Hanky Panky w/ El Hollin and Holy Coast
June 5: Nashville, TN @ Pussy Palace
June 6: Chattanooga, TN – Sluggo’s
June 7: Tennessee – IDAPALOOZA
June 8: Richmond, VA – BEARD @ Strange Matter
June 9: Philadelphia, PA: LADYFEST w/ Screaming Females, Priests, Trophy Wife & more
June 22: Manhattan, NY: Punk Island
July 9: Brooklyn, NY w/ Chemical Peel & In School