Lou Reed is dead, long live Nigel Chapman!
Halifax’s Nap Eyes have released their latest, ‘Thought Rock Fish Scale’, an unquestionably brilliant rebirthing of Lou Reed singing Bob Dylan to slowcore surf rock, if it can be called that. Enthralling monotone delivery aside, there’s an artist authentic in his anxiety-wrought observations.
I have never met Nigel Chapman, nor had I even heard of his band, Nap Eyes, before two weeks ago, but from everything I’ve read I’ve been left with the impression that he’s some mythical figure, a legend on the outskirts of the Halifax scene who crafts song using a musical alchemy. He may not be what you’d think of as a classically ‘good’ singer, but if his musical predecessors are any indication, that’s not always necessary to pull off really good music. His deadpan nasal projections accompanied by insightful lyrics lull the listener into something—maybe a state of melancholia, but it’s engrossing nonetheless.
Chapman’s esoteric storytelling could be picked apart for hours and you would still need a cheat sheet to even begin to unearth the meaning behind his wandering words. After countless listenings, I still don’t know what panic-inspired experience might have produced the lyrical imagery of “Lion In Chains Above Me”. My lingering wondering keeps my coming back for more.
It turns out that all the things people love about modern music are completely irrelevant to Chapman. He doesn’t give a shit about rhyming. What makes it all so catchy is the mastery with which he spins simplistic chords and melodies with a tirade of stories that leave the listener wondering what the hell just happened. To be honest, I haven’t a clue what this album is about. I haven’t begun to unravel it, and I don’t know that it ever will, but despite that, or perhaps because of that, I love it. It’s time to embrace the ambiguity. Let the melodies rhyme, the lyrics wander, the time signatures change unexpectedly. Lou Reed is dead, long live Nigel Chapman!
For more check out Nap Eyes’ Facebook page.