The Obsessives almost never made it to their debut LP. Perhaps that's why it was named after an oft-forgotten quote from the opening pages of Slaughterhouse-Five. There's an undercurrent of tension and progress in that reference, not surprising for a duo of childhood friends who wrote and recorded the album in their final months of high school. That's not to say the end result, Heck No, Nancy, is another chronicle of inexperience and insecurity easily roped into an "emo revival" keyword search. It's a fresh stab at solid ground at the apex of critical change.
Sure, the remnants of teenage tension remain. Vocalist/guitarist Nick Bairatchnyi recounts a relationship which once shrank his world to "one inch by one inch by one inch" in order to introduce the listener to his world on "Daisy." This contraction explodes not even twenty minutes later, when he whines aloud, "is it really love if I can choose?" amid the smoldering build of "Am I High."
This is ultimately a record wavering between the elated and the existential, the floating and the forward. While the balance never remains stationary for long, drummer Jackson Mansfield creates a cohesive backdrop which maintains the LP's center of gravity. This is a passion project that would run parallel to a gap year spent expanding the two-piece's footprint on emo's widening landmass. Even though the record ends "What Makes a Friend" with a pensive maxim -- "the mountain reminds me I am small; the dirt reminds me I'm not" -- by the album's conclusion, it's clear that these D.C. natives can be heard inching closer to their personal summit. Released on Near Mint Records.