Rising Brooklyn-based synth pop trio and JOVM mainstays Nation of Language — Ian Richard Devaney (vocals, guitars, percussion), Aidan Noell (synth, vocals) and Michael Sue-Poi (bass) — can trace their origins back to 2016: Devaney and Sue-Poi were members of The Static Joys, a band that became largely inactive after the release of their sophomore album. And as the story goes, Devaney was inspired to start a new project after hearing OMD‘s “Electricity,” a song he had listened to quite a bit while in his father’s car.
What initially started out as Devaney fooling around on a keyboard eventually evolved to Nation of Language with the addition of Noell and Sue-Poi. Between 2016-2019, the Brooklyn-based synth pop trio released a handful of singles that helped to build up a fanbase locally and the outside world.
Nation of Language’s full-length debut, Introduction, Presence was released to critical praise, landing on the Best Albums of 2020 lists for Rough Trade, KEXP, Paste, Stereogum, Under The Radar and PopMatters. The Brooklyn-based pop trio capped off the year with the “A Different Kind of Light”/”Deliver Me From Wondering Why” 7 inch, which featured the A Flock of Seagulls meets Simple Minds-like “Deliver Me From Wondering Why.”
Late last year, the Brooklyn-based JOVM mainstays released their critically applauded sophomore album A Way Forward, which featured lead album single “Across That Fine Line.” Featuring glistening synth arpeggios, a relentless motorik groove, Devaney’s plaintive vocals and an enormous, rousingly anthemic hook, “Across That Fine Line” continues the band’s remarkable run of decidedly 80s synth pop inspired material. Certainly, as a child of the 80s, the song reminds me of the aforementioned A Flock of Seagulls, as well as Thomas Dolby, Howard Jones and a few others — and much like the sources that inspired it, the song is centered around earnest, lived-in songwriting.
“‘Across That Fine Line’ is a reflection on that moment when a non-romantic relationship flips into something different,” Nation of Language’s Devaney explains in press notes. “When the air in the room suddenly feels like it changes in an undefinable way. It’s a kind of celebration of that certain joyous panic, and the uncertainty that surfaces right after it.
“Sonically, it’s meant to feel like running down a hill, just out of control. I had been listening to a lot of Thee Oh Sees at the time of writing it and admiring the way they supercharge krautrock rhythms and imbue them with a kind of mania, which felt like an appropriate vibe to work with and make our own.”
The members of Nation of Language also announced a lengthy international tour throughout the winter and spring to support their latest release. They’ll be in the UK during late January and early February. The band will then embark on a month-long North American tour that includes a March 3, 2022 stop at Webster Hall. April sees the band returning to Europe for a European Union tour.
As always, tour dates and ticket information is below.
Tour Dates [tickets here]:
01/27 – Leeds, UK @ Hyde Park Book Club [SOLD OUT]
01/28 – Glasgow, UK @ Broadcast [SOLD OUT]
01/30 – Manchester, UK @ YES Basement [SOLD OUT]
01/31 – London, UK @ Lafayette [SOLD OUT]
02/02 – London, UK @ XOYO [tickets]
03/02 – Baltimore, MD @ Ottobar [tickets]
03/03 – New York, NY @ Webster Hall [tickets]
03/04 – Boston, MA @ Brighton Music Hall [tickets]
03/05 – Philadelphia, PA @ Underground Arts [tickets]
03/18 – San Diego, CA @ Music Box [tickets]
03/19 – Los Angeles, CA @ Lodge Room [tickets]
03/20 – Los Angeles, CA @ Lodge Room [tickets]
03/23 – San Francisco, CA @ Bimbo’s [tickets]
03/24 – Seattle, WA @ Crocodile [SOLD OUT]
03/25 – Seattle, WA @ Crocodile [tickets]
03/26 – Portland, OR @ Vitalidad Hall [tickets]
03/29 – Denver, CO @ Bluebird Theatre [tickets]
03/30 – Kansas City, MO @ Record Bar [tickets]
03/31 – Minneapolis, MN @ Fine Line [tickets]
04/01 – Chicago, IL @ Thalia Hall [tickets]
04/02 – St. Louis, MO @ Off Broadway [tickets]
04/03 – Indianapolis, IN @ HiFi [tickets]
04/06 – Columbus, OH @ Ace of Cups [tickets]
04/07 – Toronto, ON @ Lee’s Palace [tickets]
04/8 – Montreal, PQ @ Bar Le Ritz [tickets]
04/18 – Antwerp, BE @ TRIX Bar
04/19 – Cologne, DE @ YUCA0
4/20 – Hamburg, DE @ Turmzimmer
04/22 – Copenhagen, DK @ Vega [tickets]
04/23 – Stockholm, SE @ Obaren
04/27 – Berlin, DE @ Lido
04/28 – Amsterdam, NE @ Tulhuistuin
04/29 – Nijmegen, NE @ Doornroosje
04/30 – Paris, FR @ Le Badaboum
05/01 – Zurich, CH @ Kater
05/03 – Barcelona, ES @ Razzmatazz
05/04 – Madrid, ES @ Sala El Sol
05/06 – Porto, PT @ M.ou.co