The Nagging Doubts were still at High School in Sydney when they made their first acclaimed EP, Deug Lane, which was lovingly catapulted into the world via ex-Lemonheads drummer Nic Dalton on his label imprint Half A Cow. A year on and, following an introduction by Dalton, the band found themselves in a studio working on mixes with acclaimed producer Wayne Connolly (The Vines, You Am I, Youth Group) and stepping into a new direction: all darkly simmering, glittery post-punk ambience; and punchy, hook inspired baselines.
This new aesthetic announces The Nagging Doubts much anticipated EP Autocalm with a double a-side release Berlin / Marine, the second release through Connolly’s own record label Scenic Drive. Berlin / Marine hints at what is to come from the EP; a feast of diverse sounds, and a young band showing they are not afraid of travelling to all points of the compass to find their sound. The band’s mission is to absorb but not mimic the great artists of the last decades, thankfully exposed to the 5-piece through their parent’s superb vinyl collection.
Berlin delivers a darker tone of the two singles, a refined use of synths and ambient layers, and a song centered around the driving Joy Division-esque baseline as lead singer Joe Wilks puts it “This new sound seemed to mimic some of the mindscapes I felt during the trip away; being in a foreign place for the first time without parents or any real anchor to remind you of a life with structure and routine. It was Berlin particularly that came to mind when I listened to the song because it was a city that seemed to run itself and didn’t feel the need to cater for tourists, it was unforgiving yet with a lot of integrity to it.”
Marine as the band say “represents shedding the physical and mental constraints of High School and all that comes with it and being thrust into a new reality that makes you feel like you’re closer to the source of life. The song isn’t limited to the idea of leaving school, that state of mind is also applicable to forming or breaking relationships, going through a period of self-discovery, or any period where you feel like you’ve shaken up the snow globe that is your mind and are open to anything and full of energy to get out there.”
This double-a release impresses the bands growing understanding of how to curate a mature, coherent sound, imbued with light and shade. The title of the 5 track EP from which they sprung draws from 1960’s advertisements for pharmaceuticals; and the music contained on the records grapples with the whirlwind of anxiety, ecstasy, disillusionment and fulfillment that sweeps you up in the turbulence of entering adulthood.
‘Autocalm’ by The Nagging Doubts is due in early 2021.
File next to: Rolling Blackouts, Go Betweens, Joy Division, Velvet Underground, Died Pretty and Andy Warhol