NAVE’s new single release, This Is Hell, drew its inspiration from Travis Scott’s Astroworld tragedy which saw ten people dead after a crush at the festival, the youngest of which was only nine years old. NAVE’s despairing vocal line sits in the twilight gloom between anger and resignation and the repeated line of “I fell down the rabbit hole” reflects songwriter/producer Nathan Evans’ feelings of how the social media surrounding the tragedy ‘coerced its users down numerous rabbit holes‘. And I’m sure we can all recognise that moment on social media when you want to find out information without rubbernecking but, before you know it, you realise you’re slowly sinking into this miserable quicksand.
Right from the start a melancholic twilight descends, with chords drifting between major and minor. Muted piano plays hide and seek with backwards sounds and there’s the occasional twang of guitar and the icy crash and crunch of drums. This woozy trip-hop put me in mind of Massive Attack or Nightmares on Wax and the laudable sense of restraint adds to the menace, mirroring the subject matter. The red-tinted video doesn’t show anything graphic but the overlaid scenes of crowds moving en masse helps you appreciate the power and terror that such numbers of people can generate.
‘This Is Hell’ is taken from an EP of the same name and it’s available on NAVE’s Bandcamp page where you can name your own price.
Review by Paul F Cook