CINCINNATI -- Breaking up can be soul-crushing. But for Alex Cohen writing, and singing, about it one way to help ease the pain. The frontwoman of four-year-old Brooklyn-via-Austin indie rock band Alex Napping channeled the hurt, confusion and distress of a painful romantic split into the band’s excellent second album, "Mise En Place," which came out on the Father/Daughter Records label in May.
Speaking to Paste Magazine earlier this year, Cohen explained the inspiration behind the album’s nine emotionally rich songs. "While I was writing the songs on this record, and what a lot of the songs are about this time in my life where I was really unhappy; I was in a relationship that I was making a lot of personal sacrifices to be in, and I felt like I had lived my whole life on this idea that if I do things a proper way then things will turn out the way that I want them to,” she said. "I feel like while writing this record I slowly began to realize that things are way more chaotic and unpredictable than that.”
So she did what so many young, creative seekers do with her broken heart: she wrote a song about it. A whole album, really, some of which she and the band will share on Saturday during their visit to the WCPO Digital Lounge for the latest Lounge Acts session. The emotionally fraught collection from the four-piece — which also includes guitarist Adrian Haynes, bassist Tomas Garcia-Olano and drummer Andrew Stevens — is anchored by Cohen’s feathery voice and clear-eyed, direct lyrics. One of the finest examples is from “Fault,” where she sings the laceratingly direct couplet, “There’s a pause in your breath, I know it/ There’s a fault in your step, I can tell/ If nothing is wrong then you’re lying/ The water’s all gone from your well.”
With a mix of alt rock sway and spare, sometimes icy arrangements that lift Cohen’s voice over the Haynes’ fuzzy guitar lines, the songs on "Mise" put her story front and center, bringing to mind the expansive sound of such beloved ‘90s shoegazer bands as Slowdive and Lush. From the subtle bubble of “Tender” to the loud-quiet-loud guitar rock of “You’ve Got Me” and the blistering “Temperamental Bed,” Alex Napping will feed your head and your heart.
If You Go:
Alex Napping with Leggy
10:00 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 28
MOTR Pub (1345 Main St., Over-the-Rhine)