Just over a decade into their career, it is clear that THE NAKED AND FAMOUS simply will not be stopped. Now a duo consisting of Thom Powers (guitar, lead vocals) and Alisa Xayalith (lead vocals, keyboards), they have seen fit to grace us with brand new album Recover (out now, Somewhat Damaged), their first new material in almost four years. And guess what? I am here for it! I have loved them since 2012 and I will continue to love them until they give me a reason not to. Xayalith has one of my favorite voices in all of music, and these two continually find ways to make me fall in love with them all over again, like they’ve done here. So let’s go!
Opener and title track “Recover” is Gospel-infused and quite powerful, dealing with the loss of loved ones like mothers and fathers, and it makes a definitive statement as far as I am concerned. Both of my parents are gone, so songs like this will always resonate with me. First single “Sunseeker” was a tough one for me, because I wasn’t sure what to make of it at first. I wasn’t sure if I liked it, believe it or not. I wasn’t sure if this was what TNAF should be putting out after damn near four years, you know? But I came around and fell in love with it, like I fell in love with all of their music for years now.
“Bury Us” is absolutely fucking phenomenal, and is without a doubt, 100% in the upper echelon of killer tracks this band has ever released. Alisa Xayalith goes to town, and the driving and pumping rhythm will make everyone, me included, want to get up and dance. It’s fantastic! Mr. Powers carries the weight on “Easy” and it’s very indicative of what he’s capable of vocally. As I said in my review of the Simple Forms album , he has a range that is pretty big, so there you go. “Come As You Are” is a hot tune, and lyrically it should speak to many. However you identify, be it gay, straight, trans, a U.S. citizen, an immigrant, or most of the above, come as you are. This is a safe place, and we will love you for EXACTLY who you are.
“Everybody Knows” is one of Miss Xayalith’s best performances, not only on this album, but since the first time I ever heard her sing. And that goddamn hook is more contagious than the virus in the 1995 movie Outbreak!! You’ll all be bopping along like crazy if you’re not already. “Well-Rehearsed” picks up that baton and runs with it, however the lyrics weigh pretty heavy. Still, it’s a fucking amazing song, and I’m glad they put it out. You’ll find that “Monument” has a beauty to it that simply leaps off the page, and you might just find yourself hitting that REPEAT button when it’s over, just saying.
“Death” is one of those songs you hear and maybe you like it right away, maybe you don’t. For me, this was Powers channeling his inner ‘80’s MTV guy, and I think that is just fine. Xayalith’s harmonies and leads only accentuate how cool this track is. “Count On You” showcases Thom and Alisa in a back and forth that is beautiful in its simplicity, while also delivering a punch. This one is a favorite on an album full of favorites. Powers comes in again with a very passionate song in “The Sound of My Voice”, and Xayalith responds so beautifully; I love it. “(An)aesthetic” is another vehicle for Powers, and he does his job admirably.
Closer “Coming Back to Me” is total THE NAKED AND FAMOUS from beginning to end, and quite frankly it’s awesome! Alisa exerts her influence over everything, and that makes the track even better! I didn’t know where we were going on this one at first, but yo, TNAF took us there beautifully. Quite honestly, this new offering Recover is something that can help us. Most of the songs talk about healing, and I just think we all need that. The world is in absolute turmoil, and it needs someone to step up. Well, THE NAKED AND FAMOUS have taken up that mantle, and a few interludes aside, they’ve given us a great one. I love Recover, and you should too!
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Coming Back to Me”, “Bury Us”, “Everybody Knows”, “Come As You Are”, “Easy”