Naked Next Door – ‘Swerving Out Wide’

By Catie

Artists, fans, and the entire music industry are aching to reconvene inside bustling venues and across festival fields. New releases can’t quite remedy that ache, but they offer a lifeline – something to enjoy in our stay-at-home bubble and get excited about. There’s something extra special about hearing a band for the first time so early on in their career, especially when they’re brimming with as much potential as Naked Next Door.

‘Swerving Out Wide’ was recorded at the tail end of 2019. It probably wasn’t in the Milton Keynes indie rockers’ plans to release new music while the world is topsy turvy, but a global health crisis won’t stop them in their tracks. The EP boasts six new songs that were recorded, produced, and mixed by Larry Hibbitt (who has also worked with the likes of Dinosaur Pile-Up, Sea Girls, and Bloxx), and a stripped down version of the fan favourite ‘Not Much Of Me’.

This so-called “band of brothers” have been together since they were 17, meaning the sound they’ve managed to create is just three years in the making. The coming together of flawless vocals, earworm guitar melodies and a strong rhythm foundation, results in a tightly-crafted EP that would hold up against far more experienced artists. The four-piece have a knack for writing songs that are incredibly replayable – each chorus more heartfelt and memorable than the next, and each track more instrumentally detailed and surprising. Naked Next Door have a heavier edge than your typical indie rock band, with a healthy dose of pop, making them a genuinely fun listen.

The opening track, ‘Save It’, is upbeat – although that doesn’t match the lyrical content. The accompanying video follows two parallel scenarios; a greyscale live performance and a boozy night out. In the latter, vocalist Euan Emerton is seemingly at a disconnect from those around him as he sings about taking it too far and filling a hole in his heart with alcohol, with advice from others to get some rest and “save it”. The line “it’s always gotta get dark before you see the morning” is imbued with regret, and feels like a reflection on personal experiences.

‘Halo’ is a highlight among the six tracks. Although still cheerful, there’s a wistfulness about it; no doubt destined to be on the soundtrack of an emotionally-charged television show or film. The lyrics are somewhat cliché, but are compensated by Emerton’s emotive delivery. At the heavier end of the band’s spectrum, ‘Noise’ is quite literally the noisiest track on the EP, alongside ‘Truth Is’ which is home to the rowdiest vocals, the strongest riffs, and the most eruptive drumming. The stripped back ‘Not Much Of Me’ is raw and touching, once again a showcase for Emerton’s voice – this time, complemented beautifully by Corin Schenks and Callum Petchey’s backing vocals. Listeners are gently picked up again with ‘Lying To You’, an anthemic final track that could easily become a set-finisher.

Naked Next Door already sell out their hometown shows in Milton Keynes, and it won’t be long before they’re filling venues around the country. After this release, the only thing holding them back will be how long it takes for live events to be safely reinstated. Until then, we’ll be eagerly waiting – and look forward to a full length album in future.  

CATIE ALLWRIGHT

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