Ottawa garage/punk trio Nightshades have just released their new EP Wendy, their second release in just over six months. The band has garnered a lot of attention since forming in February of 2014, and were asked to play a set in the Deifenbunker during MEGAPHONO earlier this year, and an opening set for Fucked Up during the Ontario Scene Festival in May.
Nightshades leave nothing to the imagination. There is a visceral quality to their music that penetrates both through living room speakers and on stage, connecting with listeners immediately. However, Nightshades has made a slight departure from previous work. Their new sound is much deeper, darker, and more dissonant than 2014’s The Beauty of Dreaming EP, stripping away some of the pop elements and replacing them with a heavier, grimier aesthetic that hits hard. More noticeable on the new EP are the layering of instruments in particular songs, such as the lead guitar in “Nail File” and “London Bass”, adding something a little different to the record.
Lead vocalist Mallory Giles’s echoed, disaffected vocals are a welcome contrast to the aggressive overdriven bass lines by Sarah Grant and unforgiving onslaught of percussion by Clarke. Sonically, the EP pays homage to garage acts of old like The Gories, playing some quick, fun, and upbeat tunes but also not afraid to tap into their darker side with songs like “Wendy” and “London Bass,” the latter of which is even garnished with some synth elements, something new for Nightshades.
One of the strongest tracks on the record is “Elevator Eyes,” the longest song on the album clocking in at a whopping two minutes and 43 seconds. It is a quintessential summer party song, going back and forth between quick verses and slower breakdowns. The EP ends with the frantic and discordant “Red Racer”, leaving us on a cliff edge wanting more of their new sound and style.
Fans of no-bullshit garage and punk rock will enjoy Wendy, however it is just barely long enough to satisfy the listener’s craving. Most of the songs are finished in the blink of an eye, making the experience of listening and diving into the EP a brief and somewhat frustrating one only because there’s a sense that this band has so much more to give. I guess that means we’ll just have to keep Wendy on repeat until Nightshades (hopefully) treats us with a full-length LP at some point in the future. Listen to Wendy in full below.