Music Reviews
Internet Friends

Niiice. Internet Friends

(Brace Cover Records) Rating - 7/10

Midway through Minnesota emo trio Niiice.’s new album, there’s a song called ruff n tuff that goes zero to one hundred real quick. “When I wake up, I’m already thinking about tomorrow,” sings guitarist/vocalist Roddie Gadeberg, and as soon as he hits the word wake, his trembling tenor surges into a full-throated scream. The drums and guitars thrash around until thirty seconds into the song, where they move back into a hesitant build up for the pre-chorus. The shifting dynamics and stop-start rhythm feel like emo standards, but the instrumentation is nearly hardcore in tone. Halfway through the song, Gadeberg throws in some tapped, math-rock guitar work, as if to take the song up one more notch.

These kind of shaggy, broadly appealing songs are all over Internet Friends, an album that’s sure to satisfy fans of Remo Drive or even 90s grunge. In fact, this album feels very much like a darker, fuzzy older brother of Greatest Hits. Still, Gadeberg’s songwriting sways less towards early Remo Drive’s party-punk and more towards the 90s pop-punk that influenced him or the metal his bandmates loved growing up. On free earl, the album’s central theme comes into apparent view. Despite getting everything Gadeberg wanted, he realizes that success and fulfillment can be fickle, especially in a band. He sings “It’s still not enough... Can you hear me?” before explaining some nervous habits and anxieties.

These sentiments should be appealing to any twenty-something who is thinking about purchasing a guitar, but it can all feel a little vague at times. The fun single shlonkey kong jiggles around with a solid groove, but the central message of “I know I need to be better” could apply to almost any human being. It’s not like there’s anything wrong with being universal, but the agreeable self-deprecation feels a little tired. Still, drummer Sage Livergood provides these songs with the intensity they’re going for, and Gadeberg’s howl sells the hell out of these songs, no matter how obvious some of them may be. Once you get to the final chorus of lockjaw, complete with gang vocals and blazing horns, you can’t help but be excited for what niiice. is going to do next.