Years back, the early scratchy sounds of the Smoking Popes‘ compilation 1991-1998 graced my speakers thanks to the old Double Zero Records, run by their drummer Mike Felumlee. The northwest suburbs of Chicago produced an unparalleled punk filled with emotional lyrics and unbridled punk musicianship. You could experience the same feeling either through Josh Caterer’s voice or any of the instruments, or both should you wish. That was their mastery. I would’ve called you out for suggesting anyone else could achieve such a balance.
Nosferatu D2, a duo of brothers from Croydon in South London, achieve that single-handedly with opener “Broken Tamagotchi.” The guitars jangle like loose change amid deep pockets of previously suppressed, newly released tension through lyrics. “It’s so easy to be depressing, when you don’t know where to go. And I don’t wanna go, back to my hometown…” Granted Caterer gave more love to Carpentersville than Ben Parker does to Croydon, who just barrels through the vocals earnestly. “A Footnote” kicks into a guitar reminiscent of barebones pop punk, akin to The Broadways if they had been a two-piece. The driven, feverish from Adam Parker drumming accompanying his frenetic brother.
“Flying Things and Pests” teeters on the fence between two dominant styles on We’re Gonna Walk…; one which musically inclines the listener to peer dizzyingly over the edge while the other is what lies below, heavy angst-ridden lyricism. When imbalanced, Nosferatu D2 can drag with hope only in the sporadic, fantastically sparse drumming as “I Killed Burt Bacharach” begins. Damn though, once Adam is unleashed, his drumming rests unparalleled in pop punk laying low on the cymbals and pulling up the kick drum until its all our ears can hear.
It is hard to call this emo in its essence, as it seriously evokes the best of early Popes as well as the 1998-2002 Jade Tree discography. I use emo in a resigned sense, completely understanding it has since been distorted and ostracized, but Nosferatu D2 was highly reminiscent of what built that scene in its early days (see “Accident Prone“). Nosferatu D2 parted ways in 2008 leaving listeners with an album as heavy, if not more somber, than Brand New‘s The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me.