London math-rock/post-hardcore band Nitkowski have unleashed one of the most primal and musically complex albums of the year with Effortless Charm. It’s been 5 years since the release of their previous album Stay In The Home You Love, and while sometimes that gap of time between releases will cause some bands to falter, Nitkowski have upped the ante on musicianship and compositional complexity with Effortless Charm. The music on the album is a constant shock to the senses in the best way possible. Nitkowski uses poly-rhythms between the drums, guitars, and synth to intertwine a constant dissonant dance in the music that is exhilarating and with some much happening keeps you on your toes as a listening and the songs ebb and flow that rapids through a mountain range.
All the instruments operate as individual parts of a greater whole that brings together their songs like clockwork, but with a feeling that’s more organic than mechanical. The songs breathe and flex on their like working organisms and the instruments are the organs that make up the body. On the song ‘Broken Rites’ when the vocals resonate the line “I can breathe through your wall, sit down, forget it” It’s said with such truth and vigor that I believe it, in fact I’m pretty sure Nitkowski is the reason for the creaking happening in my walls right now.
The band does a great job of injecting melody into rhythm, and that is really the hallmark of the band. They don’t do flashy tapping or any kind of noodling you hear in other contemporary math-rock bands. They just drive riffs and drum beats into your skull with a kind of precision that is very rare to hear and that most bands wouldn’t dare to try to achieve. The guitars bounce off each other in a similar fashion to the interlocking guitar work of Robert Fripp and Adrian in King Crimson in the 80’s and 90’s incarnations of the band. For all the harshness and sonic assault delivered by the guitars and drums, the synth playing is an unsung hero and songs like ‘Careers in Cartography’ and ‘To Our Beloved Ancillary’ have entire mood changes occurring in the songs due to minimalistic drones and soundscapes coming from the synths that adds a great counter-balance to the rest of the instrumentation.
Nitkowski have tapped into a real unique sound that is fully realized and presented throughout Effortless Charm. Hopefully it won’t take another 5 years for them to put out their next album. If you like post-hardcore tinged, angular poly-rhythmic math-rock this is not an album to miss out on.
Vocals, Disjointed Riffs, Dark, Experimental, Noise Rock
Sounds A Tad Like
Dillinger Escape Plan, King Crimson, Body Hound, Memory of Elephants
£12 GBP Physical, £7 GBP Digital on Bandcamp