Local indie rock outfit Traffic Nightmare have released their new full-length Galaxy Concerns via Bandcamp this week. After a very prolific 2012 (which saw five EP / LP releases) last year seems to have been a time of sonic refocusing for the four-piece and Galaxy Concerns is the result of some beneficial transitions.
The most noticeable difference between the new record and earlier Traffic Nightmare releases is the clarity of the guitar parts. With the exception of “Question Time” (a manic, sixties psych kind of mind-journey), each track treats the guitar melodies as a second voice, joining an increased presence of keys in supporting frontman Kevin Stairiker’s narrative and thought-provoking lyrics.
And the lyrics are the most intriguing part of the LP, meditating on societal norms and cosmic nuances like celebrity culture and environmental concerns, simulated reality, material values and death. That said, it might make more sense to compare the record to other things based on its social commentary focus (like Hollywood films WALL-E or Simone) rather than what it sounds like, but Galaxy Concerns is enjoyable whether or not you dig into the underlying cultural analysis of each atmospheric, sometimes-jazzy track.
Take a listen to the stream below, followed by a stripped-down video of “Kurt Cobain Action Figure.”