National Product – Luna
Release Date: August 7, 2007
Record Label: R&M Artist Records
Over the course of their 12-song debut album, Luna, you will get to experience the many faces of California rockers National Product. Luna has a crisp production to it courtesy of James Paul Wisner (Underoath, Dashboard Confessional), and that plus the band's raw musical talent equals one heck of an entertaining record. Their future is clearly bright and the fans are buzzing.
From "By All Means," Luna's opener, listeners are instantly captivated if not a little put off. Expecting a straightforward rock band, instead tinges of post-hardcore wailing creep into the music, which is wild-eyed and aggressive, albeit very catchy. One of the things that National Product does well is mesmerize listeners with a diverse mix of sub-genres, styles, and tempos to their music, while retaining the "catchy" aspect that keeps fans coming back for more. On "Collision," the band shifts into overdrive on the chorus before dropping down to a mid-tempo sound, highlighting Danny Casler's excellent vocals. Just as soon as your brain catches up to the music, National Product kicks it back up to 10 to close out the roller-coaster ride of a song. The lead single is "Love Me," a heartfelt ballad. Despite a cheesy aura at first, there's something undeniable about this one. It's sugary, sincere, and has been attacking the charts with a vengeance. Girls will love it, and guys will love to hate it. Regardless, it's one of the best pop-rock ballads I've heard this year, and I think you'll agree.
The crunching riffs backing "Valentine" make the song another possibility to go to radio in the future. With this track sparking singalongs en masse, you'll probably get a little 30 Seconds to Mars vibe, only heavier and more exuberant (as opposed to dark). One of the great things captured by producer James Paul Wisner and NP drummer Rob Caveney on this CD are the drum sounds. Everything is so loose (no compressed drum-pad thuds here), and the drums have deep tone, giving the whole band an added depth, which I imagine also translates well live. Expect to find some of the best examples on the fast-paced tracks such as "Paper & Ink" and "Sad Excuse." After a change of pace with "Where Do We Go?", a tight but relatively harmless acoustic ballad, the band alternates twice between aggressive and not-so-aggressive songs to close the album. "November Nights" and "Explode" are probably my least favorites on the CD; they're not quite as dynamic as the rest of Luna, and by the end, it feels like we're experiencing a reprise from somewhere on the album.
After repeated listens to Luna, you'll undoubtedly be hooked, whether you choose to admit it in mixed company or not. It's a little too safe at times, with a radio-ready sheen throughout the CD, but the music is assorted enough to draw in listeners from across the post-hardcore/pop-punk/alt-rock/indie rock chasm. Luna is not quite groundbreaking, but National Product's debut leaves little doubt that this band will be your new obsession if you give them a chance.
For fans of: Boys Like Girls with a crunch, Over It, 30 Seconds to Mars