The first thing that sticks out about NoSo‘s full length is the audio atmosphere they are able to create. Stay Proud of Me has been slowly teased through different singles and the 10 song album is an expansive and comprehensive journey. Who will the album speak to? I think it will connect with a wide range of listeners from audiophiles to those who love deep and personal lyrics.
“Parasites” is the first NoSo song that I heard and I was surprised to hear the layered instrumentals that all support NoSo’s warm and somewhat haunting vocals. While I think NoSo creates a form of indie rock mixed with pop elements, I wonder if their music isn’t as concretely defined. “Suburbia” is interesting because it is a simple song on the surface that grows verse by verse. The song’s mix expands each instrument and gives this bigger-than-life tone.
My favorite song on Stay Proud of Me is “I Feel You.” While I like expansive and layered tracks, the songs that present an artist plainly are the most enjoyable. “I Feel You” centers around NoSo’s vocals and I can really feel how their delivery wraps around the listener’s ears. Also the change midway through is really great and I like how the song’s tone changes.
While NoSo sits within an indie pop rock realm, it’s clear that they’re able to explore and expand into different styles. “Honey Understand” is an interesting electronic pop rock track that fits within the Korean electronic space. It reminds me of 2015-16 artists and bands. I’m also reminded of Julian Baker and Lucy Dacus here and there though I wonder if these sounds are influences or just complementary explorations.
10 songs is a standard set of songs for a full length. NoSo’s Stay Proud of Me sounds larger than that number of songs. It could be the variety in the songs or it could be how every track has the potential to be a single. The careful attention and power of NoSo’s vocals are what bind the entire album together and really display their ability to live among any genre.
While Stay Proud of Me is a rock-based album, I think explorations into other genres will be just as successful. There’s something special with this album that leaves a lot of anticipation for what comes next.