Naja Naja: EP (bié Records/Wharf Cat, 2022)

May 31, 2022 at 6:29 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Naja Naja: EP

Naja Naja are a Beijing-based duo with connections to Gong Gong Gong, hence the release of their EP through Wharf Cat. They uses guitars, synths, and drum programming to write songs with steady, propulsive rhythms and lyrics which could accompany dystopian minimalist synth pop from the early ’80s. The music definitely has a resemblance to new wave, but it’s just as likely to register as post-punk, indie rock, or even Krautrock. “New Toy” has fuzzy, distorted guitar and monotone vocals to match lyrics about a product that will supposedly improve and enhance your life. “Dong Dong” is music for a very lo-fi bedroom dance party, maybe even a lightswitch rave, ending with the refrain “Dance with the drag queen”. After the slower, lyrically surreal “Running Dog, Floating Elephant”, “Sunset Shopping Center” is an upbeat instrumental with a motorik rhythm and sunny guitar melodies which could easily have appeared on a Michael Rother album. “Copy of You” is darker and closer to the goth end of post-punk, and then finally “Tunnel” is a more restrained number that lets the EP fade away in the distance.

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