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June 18, 2024

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Up Late With People (High Pilot Records)

By: Alex Steininger

The new project from former Fig Dish co-front man Rick Ness, simply titled Ness, delivers their debut full-length, Up Late With People, an eight-track, forty-eight minute disc that shows signs of the mid-90s alt-rock power that Fig Dish possessed, while also moving way behind that. Noisy, feedback driven guitars are replaced, for the most part, with jangle-y, hook-filled ones, though Ness isn't without their crunchy, loud guitars too. But where the post-punk influence played a role in Fig Dish, here Ness relies on modern rock, and even some danceable beats, to propel his brand of pop-rock into your mind. Also present are keyboard led pop nuggets like "Lightning Lights Up", which shows Ness' appetite for well-worn pop craftsmanship, without giving away his guitar-rock background. It's a strong debut from an established songwriter who has plenty of great material under his belt, so if a few songs here sound like filler, it's alright. The majority of the album is strong and straight-ahead, much like you'd expect from Ness, and Up Late With People is a good offering from a man that has plenty more up his sleeve as he tries to recreate himself and find his new direction. I'll give this a B-.
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