Nakatomi Plaza


Written by: DR on 02/03/2010 01:41:04

"September 12th, 2009, on a tiny stage in the Brooklyn venue Shea Stadium, a sweat-drenched and exhausted Nakatomi Plaza thanks an enthusiastic crowd for ten years of friendship, support and love before the three members put down their instruments, exchange long, emotional hugs and officially call it a day. Punk rock loses another one (a great one, at that) and almost instantly, we're left with an unfillable void in our collective hearts." The words of the biography that came with this promo, not mine. That last sentence lingered in my mouth as I found it somewhat difficult to swallow; their choosing of the word "great". This might just seem to a petty argument of semantics, but if they were truly worthy of such superlative, I'd like to think that I would have at least heard of them before. Or maybe they are that punk. Anyway, "Ghosts" is Nakatomi Plaza's send-off, and if it is any indication as to the quality of the band's previous releases, it's no great enigma as to why they have remained so...underground.

There are only three members, which partly explains why this band don't really have a 'thick' sound. The production doesn't help either as the drums sound flat, and if there is a bass, its amp needs turning all the way to 11 (a "This Is Spinal Tap" reference for you those of you who are old-school), maybe that way Al Fair's performance might become noticeable for something other than her average vocals. These faults aside, there's a good start in the form of "Bomb Shelter", which has a catchy chorus - one of two on this album. From then until the second half of the album (cheesy acoustic number "Words" aside), it's repetitive sailing; except on "Guards" where they stupidly dabble in Alesana-esque screams! What were they thinking!! Oh, and FYI guys, if you're unsure what comes next whilst working on the bridges/endings of songs, a guitar solo isn't always the answer. Entirely instrumental "Song For Al" is the kind of experimentation that they should have been doing at track two, not track ten. "The Finish Line" is their curtain call, the end of their decade-long music "career". This is where you'll find the second of the catchy chorus' I promised earlier. It's odd that they've chosen to finish their last album with this song, as it's closer to the evil pop-realms than anything on this album, but it really works, and I can't help but find myself thinking that somewhere in Nakatomi Plaza is pop-rock band waiting to burst out.

If I wasn't informed that "Ghosts" was the finale for Nakatomi Plaza, I probably could have guessed as much anyway, as it sounds fairly tired, like a band that have had to toil on the tail of anonymity, cursing and snorting at the mainstream for not accepting them whilst proclaiming allegiance to the DIY punk scene as reasons why all of their supposed endeavour hasn't been met with success and popularity. Maybe I'm naive (I like to think of myself as an idealist), but I believe that talent gets recognised sooner or later. Ten years is a long time, and 'later' has already passed Nakatomi Plaza by, and they didn't get recognised. Maybe they just didn't have that much to be recognised?


Download: Bomb Shelter; The Finish Line; Song For Al
For the fans of: Jawbox; Small Brown Bike; Pretty Girls Make Graves
Listen: Myspace

Release Date 08.12.2009

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