The long, arduous two-year journey through barren desert dunes has finally come to term: NQQV returns with their second epic installation, an oasis in the arid audible landscape of LA, My Friend The Water Tower.
This 9-track package is a mesmerizing psychosis hypnosis of raw dronage, highlighted with ghostly vocals, crystalized guitar riffs and simple soaring baselines. The lyrics touch on several themes, but the main unifying string in the album seems to be wordless; a prevailing “feeling” of melancholia, loneliness, and a timeless yearning drives the narrative and chronologically builds a vulnerable world for us to melt into, song after song.
From the get-go we are greeted with a colorful, alluring instrumental track, immediately drawing us in like a wizard in an alleyway. NQQV sprinkles these Texture tracks at precisely the right moments throughout the album, each time adding another layer and level of energy to the space, a pleasant surprise that creates a comforting overarching element to the album. We feel ready and available now to crack open old wounds and poke around in them.
The second track, “How I Learned to Embrace Silence” gently starts us off on this journey by slowly building the droney sludge to reach an ecstatic, vibrant and relieving elation. Followed by “Cursed Stones,” and “Destroyed,” we are guided through certain energetic rage and then consoled back into a calm eye of the storm. The Single track off the album “Obsession Takes the Wheel (Again),” a sad, regretful tune that makes me feel like I’m absentmindedly kicking around tumbleweeds, truly brings that predominant “feeling” home and hits the heart chakra hard. There’s something nostalgic about the overwhelming wall of sound, which slaps you across the face with a nice reminder of the temporal harshness of reality. A lingering feeling of loneliness caps off at the end with a hopeful tune, title track “My Friend The Water Tower,” a slow homage to Eric’s neighbor and close friend, the local water tower.
What is most striking about this album are Eric Werner’s vocals, an eerie mix of raw, wailing tones and and mystical melodies from an ancient time. Spellbound like observers in Plato’s Cave, Eric lures us in with dark fiery melodies and an entrancing story of existential loneliness, painting a specific vignette of human life that we can all still somehow relate to. Inspired by a particularly dark era when he felt very alone, Eric wrote the album as a thank you to a symbol in his surrounding life from which he regularly drew comfort. “[The Water Tower] is like a friend that’s always there, a closest friend who totally gets you and is always down to hang. I desperately needed that.”
We can all relate to this need to relate, even to inanimate objects, just to quell this prevailing feeling of loneliness that is human existence from time to time. A true raw head-banger, this album will empty you of everything, and then fill you right back up. My recommendation? Listen all the way through, in order, and let the music do its magic.
My Friend The Water Tower by NQQV is publicly materializing on Sunday August 25th at the Bootleg Theatre – for now make sure to check out NQQV’s new single from the album, “Obsession Takes The Wheel (Again).”