• Tue, Apr 23, 2024

Single Review: Central Park by Nilein


album Reviews Mar 28, 06:21pm

Nilein’s dreamy new track isn’t quite what it wants to be.

The lo-fi post-rock genre has been flooded to the extent of oversaturation in recent times, primarily due to the relative ease of putting out heavily layered walls of noise that seem more obsessed with themselves than actually wanting to make the listener feel something. Reviewing Nilein’s latest offering ‘Central Park’ was, thus, quite essential to understand the evolution of the genre. 


The song does have its high points. For example, it is texturally satisfying. The main melody sits in the back, just behind booming drums (if you like a big fat kick, listen to this thing with headphones) and layered vocals that are held way back in the mix to almost serve as another instrument. The melody itself is simple and sounds mildly interesting for a few bars, par for the course as far as run-of-the-mill post-rock goes. There is also a little orchestral synth lead that is satisfying if you have the patience to dig through all the guitar and vocal layers to find it. But it does not really challenge you to give it the attention it wants, and this is its primary undoing.


All the post-rock songs of old that made the genre popular to begin with had something that made you feel the emotion the artist wanted you to feel. That thing was clarity. Central Park suffers in that it does not really want to draw you in. It is happy with you leaving it in the back of your mind while you do something else, instead of grabbing you by the scruff of the neck and sending you on a journey. The main guitar line, while catchy the first time, gets pretty old pretty fast. Besides the drums that hit hard and project progression, the rest of the elements don’t really go anywhere. The reverb-soaked guitars drone on without change for the entirety of the song, and once the drums inexplicably disappear about three-quarters of the way through, you’re left with the same song you heard in the first thirty seconds, albeit without the first half’s vocals that are too homogenous to make much of a difference anyway.



The music video, which is made up of clips from the critically acclaimed film ‘5 Centimeters Per Second’, seems to present the song as a soundtrack to the movie’s themes of friendship, loss and the pain of change. But the song does not seem to want to deal with such powerful emotions; it is happy to be in the middle of the road; a background listen.


Nilein is a three-piece lo-fi trio from Kolkata with an EP to its name, and two singles released, in the last twelve months. The discography suggests diversity in how the trio has approached the genre and the style. How the band further follows and evolves will be an interesting effort to observe, although as far as 'Central Park' and other efforts are concerned, a subtle identity has been created; one that revolves around imperfect and unpolished master versions. The emphasis on more reverb is deliberate. And Nilein, if the four released tracks act as any proof, consciously steered or maintained its sound to that identity. That's where most of the battles are half won. 



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