ARTIST: NUDE SHOES

TITLE: SUBURBAN CEREMONIES

LABEL: KNOWHOPERECORDS

RATING:  9/10 

WORDS: CHRIS PRENATT

Asbury Park, N.J., has been a breeding ground of incredible talent. Over the years the area has given the world amazing artists such as Bruce Springsteen, Fury Of Five, and Brick + Mortar. And now the region is ready to give us another artist to love. Insert Nude Shoes, the one man emo/pop-punk band created by Andy Katz. After leaving his previous group Weird And Wonderful Words in 2017, Katz decided to channel in his pain, suffering, and the woes of living with ulcerative colitis into his brand new project Nude Shoes.

What you hear on Nude Shoes’s debut EP ‘Suburban Ceremonies’ are songs that just drip with pain and hope, composed of honest lyrics with that wonderful emo sound the state has given us time and time again (remember New Jersey gave us some of the finest emo groups in the 2000s like My Chemical Romance, Senses Fail, and Armor For Sleep). It’s raw, powerful, and gives you the hope and perseverance to go on during the hard times.

“songs that just drip with pain and hope, composed of honest lyrics with that wonderful emo sound the state has given us time and time again.”

‘Suburban Ceremonies’ starts off with the hard-hitting emotionally filled ‘Couple’s Jenga’. Katz croons about a failing relationship singing in the chorus “Can’t hold on / I am sick of the straws you keep grasping onto / Moving on / There is nothing left for you here”. Throughout the two and a half minute track, we listen to Katz’s relationship fall apart and moving on from the heartbreak.

‘Headache For A Decade’ feels like the most personal track on the EP, having Katz open up about his 14 year struggle with ulcerative colitis. If you don’t know what that is, it’s an inflammatory bowel disease that causes inflammation and ulcers in the digestive track that are long-lasting. Ulcerative colitis can put someone who has it with a huge risk of getting colon cancer later in life. Now that we have that info out of the way, the track has Katz singing about the intense pain and misery the disease has been giving him “With every med that’s beside my bed/and it’s the nurses hands keep me from this ledge/and I bet/you don’t know what a headache this is/not wanting to wake up alone/but wishing I would wake up dead,” he sings in the song’s intro. ‘Headache For A Decade’ is a sad yet hopeful song backed with a killer State Champs-esque style, and is probably the greatest track out of the four.

‘Mental Stencil’ starts off with a guitar riff that immediately catches your attention and then eases you into the drums. Much like the EP’s opening number, ‘Mental Stencil’ deals with growing apart in a relationship. Once you dig deep into the lyrics, it’s as clear as crystal what you’re hearing. Katz sings on the track, “You said you wouldn’t but you already did / I don’t feel the same about you anymore.” The song ends with a lovely piano medley played over an acoustic guitar and haunting vocals.

‘Suburban Ceremonies’ is an emo classic in the making”

The EP ends with the song ‘Gamma Jack’, featuring a guitar riff that feels like the intro to some kind of anime. Guitars come in blazing fast, not giving you anytime to recover from the sadness of the previous song. It’s a perfect finisher to the album, blending in classic emo elements with modern styles found in the likes of Real Friends.

Overall, ‘Suburban Ceremonies’ is an emo classic in the making. Katz pours his soul, pain, heart, and hope into each of the four songs on the EP, and you can feel it all from the words coming from his throat. ‘Suburban Ceremonies’ is a heartfelt album that will make you feel and cry. Katz crafted one of the finest emo albums to come out so far this year. Let’s see how he tops himself on the follow up.

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