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. As the story goes, Devaney was inspired to start a new project after hearing hearing OMD‘s “Electricity,” a song he had listened to quite a bit as a child 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 elsewhere.
The JOVM mainstay’s full-length debut, 2020’s Introduction, Presence was released to critical praise, landing on the Best Albums lists that year 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,” which contained a run of decidedly 80s synth pop-inspired material. As a child of the 80s, “Across That Fine Line” brings back memories of listening to A Flock of Seagulls, Thomas Dolby, Howard Jones and a lengthy list of others. And much like the sources that seemingly inspired it, the song is rooted in 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.”
Earlier this year, the rising Brooklyn-based synth pop outfit made their late night, national TV debut on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert where they performed “Across That Fine Line” is a segment filmed at Baby’s All Right. Adding to a rapidly growing profile, the Brooklyn-based JOVM mainstays completed a lengthy, headlining, international tour that included a March 2, 2022 stop at Webster Hall with Dark Tea.
Fittingly released for Pride Month, Nation of Language covered The Replacements‘ 1984 classic “Androgynous.” Written by Paul Westerberg as a twinkling piano-driven ballad celebrating gender non-conformity and gender non-conformity based relationships centered around Westerberg’s emotional delivery, Nation of Language’s take is contemplative yet playful while featuring atmospheric synths, skittering beats and Devaney’s plaintive vocals.
“One of the things that made covering ‘Androgynous’ so exciting is that, for me, so much of the original song is carried by Paul Westerberg’s incredible melodies and emotional delivery, and that really leaves a lot of opportunity to imagine new instrumentation,” Nation of Language’s Ian Devaney says in press notes. “I felt like as long as I was able to channel enough of that emotional power but bring the vocals into my own space, it would be a challenging and worthwhile endeavor.”
The “Androgynous” cover will appear on a limited edition 7″ vinyl that will also feature a surprise single on the B-side. The 7″ will be released in August through the band’s direct-to-customer store and will be available for pre-order upon its digital release.
The band will be hitting the road once again throughout the last couple of months of the year: The tour includes a September 16, 2022 stop at White Eagle Hall in Jersey City, New Jersey. Check out the rest of the your dates below.
8/28 – Port Townsend, WA – Thing
9/14 – Washington, D.C. – Union Stage
9/15 – Pittsburgh, PA – The Andy Warhol Meuseum
9/16 – Jersey City, NJ – White Eagle Hall
9/17 – Woodstock, NY – Colony
9/30 – Pomona, CA – The Glass House
10/7-10/9 – Austin, TX – Austin City Limits
Upcoming UK Tour Dates
8/7 – Castelbuono, IT – Ypsigrock Festival
11/21 – Brighton, GB – Chalk
11/22 – Bristol, GB – The Fleece
11/24 – London, GB – Electric Brixton
11/26 – Birmingham, GB – Space 54
11/27 – Newcastle Upon Tyne, GB – The Cluny
11/29 – Edinburgh, GB – The Caves
11/30 – Glasgow, GB – Classic Grand
12/1 – Manchester, GB – Gorilla
12/2 – Liverpool, GB – Arts Club
12/3 – Dublin, IE – Whelans