The Prophet Nathan’s James Oliva’s got a brand new band—The Ace of Coins, with fellow Coins Clint Brown and Mitch Kluge.
Recorded and mixed at Nashville’s Reel Recording and Murfreesboro’s The Music Office, The Ace of Coins’ first EP, The Fool, dropped last month and is available here. If The Prophet Nathan was a subdued experiment-experience in ambient electronica with sleepy glitches, then The Ace of Coins is its pumped up, more structured and lyric-oriented incarnate where many of the same influences spring up sans the glazy coat of Pink Floyd dreaminess.
There’s Pinback-like fuzzy melodia and glitches bouncing freely throughout seven tracks, only louder and more up-tempo to the point that The Fool almost sounds like a spacey, electronic version of snotty ’90s pop punk. Incidentally, Oliva’s vocals often emulate Mark Hoppus’s (like on “Dragon Formula”) during his abstract musings: “Separate the thoughts of me/Connected to the awful sentiment of perjury/Don’t expect an open mind/When you don’t even have the guts to look me in the eye” (“Systems of Symmetry”). Sometimes rewinding is necessary to piece together Oliva’s entire thought, which could stand just fine on its own without the music and is why his lyrics could do well, maybe even better, as poems. The lyrics don’t flow but rather fold out in segments with a choppy pacing that brings to mind Incubus, and the style fits well within the electro-rock foundation.
Because instrumentation talks over the electronic aspects of The Ace of Coins, it may seem like this band is a huge step away from The Prophet Nathan, but I hear the same floaty, ethereal sound at the core of both bands. The Ace of Coins is The Prophet Nathan on steroids with the volume turned up and a lot more to say (and different band members). It’s hard to put electronica into your music without all the beeps and twinkling just sounding like arcade noise, and it’s harder still to make them pretty, but TAOC can pull it off or at least make it interesting.