It’s a sunny, quiet day in Nashville; most people are at home, preparing casseroles and foregoing their Sunday best for comfortable slacks with expandable waistbands. I’m sitting outside the only café I knew would, without commercial fail, be open, with a slew of other weekend workers, listening to Nashville’s Scale Model.
The band released their debut full-length album, “Star,” on April 7. The LP was recorded with Jeremy Ferguson at Battle Tapes, (Turbo Fruits, Tristen,) and Brian Carter at Paradox Productions (The Features), and mixed by Matt Mahaffey (Beck, Hellogoodbye). A catchy fusion of danceable electro-rock and synth progression, Scale Model commands control of the dreamy pop space set into motion by a late 70’s Cure-esque post-punk and mid-80’s new-wave, and continued by bands like Beach House and Metric. With compelling, optimistic rhythms, the album is confidently crafted, featuring an assured mastery of ambient sound.
Singer Megan Rox boasts a snowy, refined voice that could harken back equally to a soft, folky tune in a 1960’s Cambridge cafe as it could to a slew of synth-pop European discotheques. It’s simultaneously angelic and numbing, warming and detached. The lyrics are often refreshing devoid of abstraction, ringing in objective observations of today’s cultural scene. The third track of the album, “Live It Up,” introduces a jarring depiction of the millennial microcosms: “Hanging out on the porch of the pub playing cards against humanity/you order whatever’s on tap and I get whatever craft brew specialty/just like all the other twenty-something hipsters trying to look cool/tired of the grind of work/that’s why we’re going out to get numb.”
The entire album reads like this kind of out-of-rhyme-scheme stream of consciousness diary, waxing philosophical on notes of cultural routine and personal dominion. “Hang On” feels a little more like the waning lullabies that conclude most celestial works, narrowing in on that starry core that remains in each one of us when we feel separated at nightfall, confined to solitude, after trying desperately to connect with the by-rote rituals of the day. It’s a wonderful display of the drive behind artistic expression, the moments of loneliness that ring pervasive in an artist’s mind, and those subtle and treasured times of connection between those who exist to create.
You can listen to Scale Model here, and catch them play at the Sevier Park Fest on Saturday, May 3.