By Lane Claffee
March 27, 2017
From their album artwork to their origins, The Menders are a truly rare musical act. Hailing from Gastonia, North Carolina, a city often overlooked in terms of being a hub for artistry, the band incorporates elements of folk-punk and rock to create their own distinct sound. Since 2011, The Menders have been putting out their blend of “Jack White meets Doc Watson” garage-folk, and their 2017 full-length, Nina, stays true to that description.
From the thunderous opener, “Carolina Highway,” to the gritty and groovy tracks “Like Me Too,” and “End of the World,” both with instrumental hints of Ty Segall’s Manipulator, Nina is a rowdy collision of indie-folk and garage-rock. However, the album isn’t 100% boisterously pleasing rock ‘n’ roll; it also relaxes a bit towards the b-side of the album on tracks like “Where Are You Now,” and “Howlin’ At The Moon.” Nina is definitely more unruly than contemplative, which isn’t a bad thing.
Overall, the album takes The Menders’ unique bending of genres, and plays it in a tastefully diverse manner, all while keeping it fresh. It’s some electrified, gravelly folk-punk that comes in crashing, and rarely lets up. The album’s style spans from traditional folk to heavy rock, sometimes in a matter of seconds and it’s rousing all the way through the final build-up on “Howlin’ At The Moon.” It’s a compelling, high-energy album that wouldn’t seem out of place being blared out of your favorite Irish pub.
Favorite tracks: Carolina Highway, End of the World, Howlin’ at the Moon
Listen to “Carolina Highway” by The Menders: