When life serves you a dose of trials and tribulations, one can often find that getting up off the floor provides the perfect canvas in which to paint new pictures from. It’s where we find Andy Katz and his new musical project Nude Shoes. In 2017 he ended his previous band citing time away for good mental health, all while battling other long-term health issues. And while I’m sure Katz would rather not have gone through the difficulties; there is a silver lining. His new work is a bright musical effervescence that takes personal turmoil and turns it into something rewarding.
Suburban Ceremonies is the resulting 4 songs of pain, sadness, frustration and hope of the last few years. It’s a compact release, sonically taking cues from The Swellers before them; melodic punk that veers into skate punk territory on occasion. Nude Shoes turns the urgency up as they blast out of the gate with “Couple’s Jenga”, a relationship torn song that flows musically into “Headache for a Decade”. The latter is Katz’ ode to Ulcerative Colitis, the terrible disease he’s been fighting against for, as you guessed, a decade.
A 4-song EP can be tough canvas to paint on, as it gives you the perfect opportunity to introduce your music but limits the scope. Suburban Ceremonies thankfully, is free of filler songs. There is nuance here, and Nude Shoes really hits a high with “Mental Stencil”; distorted guitars, up-tempo percussion, soaring vocals- topped off with some Jimmy Eat World circa-Clarity twinkling to close off the song. It’s a superb song and the EP’s highlight. High-energy track “Gamma Jack” wraps up the proceedings and you are left with a feeling that these four songs all mean a lot to Katz and the band, and that they’ve put a lot of themselves into this EP. It translates into a short, but incredibly rewarding listen, one that leaves you in anticipation for what’s next.