Are you looking for an EP that hints at the darkness of the world while still offering some fun and groovy vibes? Something I Can’t Shake Off by National Barks might just be what you want as it combines the spooky with the inviting. Following a roster shakeup and the pandemic, the band had to re-evaluate and dive into a new direction. Drawing on a retro sound, they have created a fun yet dark album.
Formed by Adam Brandt (vocals, guitar) and Jeffrey Earl (drums, vocals), the band was recently joined by bassist Joe Memory. Drawing on their individual sounds and influences, they created a dynamic soundscape full of groovy bass, synths and tight guitar melodies.
The EP starts with ‘Creeps’ which hits you with some retro vibes from the first moment. The melody has this almost spaghetti western feeling to it mixed with a creepy vibe. Brandt’s vocals add to the dichotomy of the melody. The pace of his performance has you thinking about good times, but the flow of his voice adds to the creepier vibes. The lyrics have a creepier edge than the melody adding to this conflicting soundscape.
‘Japanese Car in the Desert’ has a more surf vibe to it which shines from the very first note. There is a more laid-back vibe to this single compared to the opening song. The change in Brandt’s vocals complements the change in overall vibe. The swing between these two songs showcases the versatility of the band and what they are able to offer.
The good and fun vibes continue with ‘Beverly Chills’. The surf sounds also come back with a hint of groovy pop-rock resting in the lower levels. There is something about the vocals on this song that you can’t help but like. While the song has a generally positive vibe, there are moments of creepiness that filter through. Listening to the lyrics brings some of this through as well.
‘Becky Bummer’ opens with some atmospheric dark vibes which really grab your attention. This turns into an equally captivating guitar line that Brandt’s vocals flow out of. While there is a darker vibe to this song, there is also a good vibe to it. You can easily get down to the groove while being washed with the darker vibes. This song really captures the essence of the EP with both fun vibes and spooky tones.
The EP ends with ‘You Gave Me Something I Can’t Shake Off’ which brings a more funky rock vibe. The shuffling beats and pounding opening set a completely different tone for the song. The vocals continue the new funky vibes that you can’t help but move your head to. The chorus has an expansive feeling that you get a little lost in, but in the best possible way.
National Barks bring out the fun yet creepy vibes with their EP Something I Can’t Shake Off. Each track has its own vibes from playfully fun to darker and somewhat creepy.