27 May 2022

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The Not Okays - Single/Video Review: Better Days

10 Mar 2022 // A review by Kev Rowland

Here we have the second single from The Not Okays, following on from their cover of Bite Me which came out towards the end of last year. Noriel Wong (guitar), Aaron Prictor (guitar, vocals), Lauren Kate Borhani (vocals), Caitlin Clark (bass) and Bahador Borhani (drums) started this band as a fun excuse to be able to go out and blast some of their favourite Emo tunes, and this is their first original. From the sound quality, musicianship and the video, one would never realise this is a brand-new band, but the three guys also perform in MIRA, while Bahador is also in some outfit called Written By Wolves so they know what they are doing. Add to the mix that there are two couples in this group, then there is no surprise they are close-knit and tight.

The song starts gently, with some riffing guitars, lots of hi-hat and not much bass, and some vocals in the background before Lauren comes in all sweetness and light. I was quite surprised at just how gentle this was, starting to ramp up on the bridge with far more drums, and then we get into the chorus which has an interesting arrangement. There is a staccato approach to the guitars, so much so that there are gaps in the music, which allows Bahador to provide the strong backbeat while Lauren comes through with plenty of angst and anger. She is not just singing this, but is really living it, really punching the EMOtion.

The second verse has plenty of rimshots which gives a very different overall sound until we are back to the bridge and Bahador is again around the kit. Aaron joins in at different points, but his vocals are kept in the background to provide a slightly different feeling to the sound, and when he is given a few lines his vocals provide another melodic string to their bow, with some nice contrast to Lauren. The song has plenty of energy, and may only be 3 ½ minutes long, but there is a lot going on which allows for plenty of contrast and dynamics. Most of the guitars are riffs, with Aaron and Noriel rarely going off on their own, and Caitlin’s underlying bass is often simple, but she also moves around the neck when the time is right, adding additional nuances which combine into what is a radio-friendly commercial alternative rock song.

The video catches the band performing, with simple light transitions on each camera change, and it is incredibly effective. Often, videos focus on the singer to the detriment to the rest of the band, but this has been shot in a way where everyone has their fair share, even with plenty of time showing what is going on with the drums, which virtually never happens. It is light, and again wonderfully commercial and ties in incredibly well with the music. Given Bahador’s history with videos for WBW one might expect this to have been edited by him, but in fact he was working on the new WBW video while Lauren was editing this one, and as Lauren said to me, “Just a couple of emos working hard at home!!”

I am still a mad fan of their last single (5.6K views now, not bad for a debut with no gigs to promote it), and the sound and image they are portraying is going to take them a long way. I know we will all be hearing a great deal more about The Not Okays in the future, so check this out and get into them at the beginning.

Rating: ( 5 / 5 )

About The Not Okays

The Not Okays are a five-piece emo revival band from Auckland, New Zealand, celebrating the fact that emo was never dead.

Having headlined Ding Dong Lounge's infamous emo nights since 2018 with covers, extensive lockdowns gave the band the push they needed to start working on original content and continue to support the rise of modern emo.

Lauren Kate Borhani - Vocals

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for The Not Okays


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