Nameless Warning – The Beholder
In The Beholder, Nameless Warning has skillfully wielded a production style often echoing early-to-mid-aughts electronica. In this style, they’ve crafted a cohesive album with a consistent — but never monotonous — sound tied together by clearly heartfelt vocals. Throughout the album, the lyrics set an introspective tone and suggest a difficult but ultimately hopeful personal struggle that I find resonates with my own. This album is a high quality aural experience.
“The Origin” begins slowly, as if waking with the dawn, setting the stage with an eerie, portentous atmosphere enhanced by non-verbal vocals before transitioning into the soft drum beat and dreamy synths of “The Answers.” This evokes the same quiet excitement one feels at the cusp of a new beginning, reinforced by the lyrics “Everything is new, but I’m not scared, just unprepared.”
Following this, we reach the highest emotional point of the album with the bright sound and cheery hi-hat of “The Light.” This brings forth an exuberance that mellows into the more subdued cautious positivity of “The Stranded.” Both songs assert an optimistic outlook in the face of unpleasant circumstances.
Despite that optimism, the mood is brought crashing down in “The Future” by a rainstorm of doubt. The unknown is no longer exciting, but frightening and dangerous, as underscored by the morose atmosphere and lyrics: “I’m not taking any chances under these circumstances, the rain never stops and I finally drown.” In the final minute, the tone shifts with a defiant guitar solo seeming to signal the parting of the metaphorical clouds, but a lingering dread remains as the track closes.
At the halfway point, title track “The Beholder” takes a moment to recuperate from this setback and build the listener back up, restoring hope with the soft assurance that “it’s only up from here.” Thus rejuvenated, “The Memory” quickly accelerates with a powerful, confidence-inspiring beat and affirmations like “one day you will find out everything you fear’s all in your head,” before fading with an ominous breakbeat outro.
Though the debilitating sense of fear has abated, there still remains a tinge of apprehension in “The Real.” Moody synths and a downtempo beat accompanied by lyrics with a defensive edge reflect a guarded presentation to the outside world until, in the final third, the pitch suddenly shifts up and takes on a more relaxed, vulnerable tone. This vulnerability gives way in “The Night” to a kind of ghostly longing, a wistful pleading for some unknown other to lean on and to help carry us “through the night” as we near the end of our journey.
In “The Resurgence,” we are presented with quite a dramatic sonic arc. Beginning quietly, the music slowly layers itself into an almost frenzied dance beat. Then, smoothly transforming into a swelling crescendo, we are inexorably propelled to a stirring climax before tapering off into an ethereal, far-away rendition of the refrain from “The Beholder,” and we are finally allowed to rest. The lyrics, too, lend a particular grandiose quality, vague and mysterious enough to map any desired significance onto.
In fact, it’s that very sense of universality pervading The Beholder that allows it to transcend beyond a mere collection of enjoyable tracks into something remarkable. Whatever literal events in Nameless Warning’s life inspired each song, they’ve gently winnowed away the chaff and left a core emotional grain that should stir something familiar in anyone who hears it.
Favorite Track: The Answers