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Nihilism Is Nothing to Worry About

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Album Review

What was so special about 1986 to make this Austin quartet name themselves after the year? Maybe it had something to do with the music from that time. Certainly the alt-rock scene was flourishing, and it definitely left an impression on both the band and Nihilism Is Nothing to Worry About, their debut album. However, 1986's influences certainly don't end there, and it's the group's vibrant, multi-textured styling that makes Nihilism so intriguing. Hailing from Texas, you'd expect a bit of C&W to have rubbed off on their sound, and it does right across the intro to "I Know." "."22 Caliber" is peppered with a western flavor, although the song itself builds into a spectacular indie pop rocker, while "Creep Like Me" boasts some of the most wonderfully and deliberately turgid rockabilly you'll ever hear. As heavy as that latter number is, "Holiday" is equally bright and light, all sweet, acoustic guitar and glowing melody. Magnificent melodies are obviously all important to 1986, be they're delivered in the fabulously brash alt-rock style of "Mechanical Dreams," or in the old-school punk-splashed style of "It's Too Bad." Catchy choruses are also integral to their sound, with the most hook-ridden one found on "Better When You're Stoned," but twinned to dense, intense verses. And then there's spectacular dynamics and intricate arrangements, "Comatose" boasts both, as does the explosive "."22 Caliber." Inevitably, the superb guitar work will be the focus for most listeners, but it's Cully Symington's lethal drum work, especially his subtle, rumbling drum rolls, that drives the entire set. Add thoughtful, well-crafted lyrics themed around relationships and everyday life, and you've got a set guaranteed to resonate with millions. This is rock as it once was and should be again, old and new intertwined, to create a sound for the ages.


Formed: 2004 in Austin, TX

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s

With much influence from the '60s garage rock of 13th Floor Elevators, the raw, barroom indie rock of 1986 is made by Giorgio Angelini (vocals, guitar), Cully Symington (drums), and Drew Pennebaker (bass). Angelini, who had been the drummer for indie pop band the Rosebuds, met Symington in Austin and the two jammed for three months before Angelini ran into old friend Pennebaker, whom he hadn't seen in ten years. Going through several second guitarists, the band remained a trio. 1986's first recording,...
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Nihilism Is Nothing to Worry About, 1986
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