Probably the first thing you think of when you read the word “nice” with more than the customary number of I’s is a dude, probably in his 20s, informing you that he either finds something adequate or otherwise acceptable. Your own mental picture of what this guy looks like will be based on your relative life experience. Maybe he’s wearing a polo and khakis. Perhaps he’s emoting through a bushy handlebar mustache below aviator sunglasses and a denim baseball cap. Or maybe he’s wearing purple lipstick and accessorizing with plastic barrettes and hoop earrings. Dudes come in a lot of different varieties these days. There is a dude for just about every season. A dude for every rhyme and reason.

Masculinity is going through some pretty interesting transitions right now and it’s extremely cool to see how confident some men (and male presenting non-binary folks) have become in expressing themselves with beauty products and accessories that were not previously associated with their gender, or deemed acceptable for someone with their gender presentation. Sometimes the world changes for the better, that’s all I’m trying to say.

Photo by Bethünni Schreiner

What tends not to change though is midwest emo. And, to be honest, thank god, because unlike western masculinity, the kinds of emo that spring up and out of the former industrial corridors of America are basically perfect, and have been that way since the ’90s, and do not have any good god damned reason to change.

Case in point, Minneapolis trio niiice. Now, niiice. may not be a traditional midwest emo band in the sense of a Cap’n Jazz or The Promise Ring, but they harness a lot of the vulnerability and heart-bleeding through your shirt pocket sentimentality that caused emo to be the focal point of a tectonic shift in indie and punk nearly three decades ago. It’s all about the feelings, my dude! Every song, an earthquake of emotions!

niiice. is set to release their second LP, internet friends on September 28, 2020, and it is the kind of album that will remind you how good life can be, even when you feel like the world is trying to drive you insane. A good example of what I mean is the lead-off single “shlonkey kong,” a willy sounding uptempo garage bop about self-medicating complete with delectably melodramatic lyrics that dance upon mountains of sugary, tongue teasing distortion. A downer track in some ways, but one that hints at the kind of understated optimism that gets most of us through our post-adolescence period more or less alive and sensible.

As implied by the title, the entirety of internet friends isn’t as solipsistic as the lead single, as most of the material here is clearly hungry for human connection. “ruff n’ tuff” is a big winded cry across the chasm of space and time, aiming to connect with someone who you haven’t talk to in a while but who you still care about deeply, sentiments anchored by thick thickets of distortions and chords progression that stop and start in fits of friendly antagonism. “FRESCO MODE” breaks out some mathy chords to help liberate the group’s heart and style from the monotony of power chord purgatory, followed by closer “lockjaw,” which ushers hot sprays of distorted guitars back into the mix to balance out the bright but sloshy pop melodies that dominate the track.

Despite being a young band, niiice. sound very mature on this record. Like people who have lived through more than a few figurative house fires in their day and survived with a renewed sense of purpose and appreciation for life.

You can stream the first couple of singles off of internet friends below and preorder a copy from Brave Cove Records here.

Author

Hardcore. Metal. Jazz. Cats. Scary Movies. Etc... Read more of my errant thoughts over at I Thought I Heard a Sound (https://thasound.blogspot.com/).

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