The Nim Nims

Rock bands have a penchant for redundancy. They often recycle the jargon of their peers, exaggerate the over-driven chorus, or try to rehash the Eddie Vedder playbook. At worst, they end up sounding like a navel-gazing cross-breed of late-nineties dad rock and the confused pop-punk of Generation Y.

Rather than recycle worn conventions, The Nim Nims offer thoughtful lyrics, intentional arrangements and re-creations of conventional tonalities. The sound palate on Patten Towers is interesting and creative. Lyrics citing local haunts like Lookout Mountain and Patten Towers in “Dead Sober” will instantly appeal to the band’s Chattanooga audience. Still, this album gives listeners more reasons than just nostalgia to stick around.

The subtle, pop sensibility of “Vindicated” tells of burgeoning maturity. A typical rock and roll fare of distorted guitar opens the track, but the initial chorus melts into the vocal introduction with dissonant piano chords and a drum machine beat. Hopefully, the band will continue to pursue this blending of styles in the future.

The vocal harmonies on “Words” along with the banjo line on “Missionary” smack of bluegrass. And the meandering guitar line and granulated synths on “Blowfish” seem to emanate from the archives of early Get Up Kids and Built to Spill.

Patten Towers is a great addition to the swath of albums released recently by Chattanooga bands. Its caveats of intentional creativity set the work free, and make the Nim Nims’ alt-rock perspective original and exciting

-Michael Kendall,