Composed of Chicago-based brothers Nolan and Carter Dickson and their friend Henry Miller, Noir Disco are best known for their psychedelic tunes. Their new (and mostly improvised) album NOW! 2073, however, is different from anything they’ve done before. The record questions the way our modern world works while bringing us into the future, with the trio’s melodic and frequently harmonized vocals (which have effects that make them sound very similar to the instruments) blending into the synth- and guitar-heavy music, which gives off a futuristic and psychedelic pop-punk feel. At the same time, they balance the high notes of the synth with lower voices.
It seems like the futuristic element comes from the constant feeling that time is just passing by. Noir Disco sing about this idea in “Getting Old,” which is about time passing by as we age and continually feel as if the future is already here. While the music brings the listener into the future, the lyrics do the opposite. NOW! 2073 places the listener in the all-too-familiar present while poking fun at the way our modern world works. On “Television,” Noir Disco seem to question capitalism and how the world profits off our addiction to TV and screens in general, poking fun at our collective need to indulge in numbing our brains. The song “Los Angeles” opens with a description of LA as a place with the “shiny people,” most likely a reference to the city’s massive cosmetology and plastic surgery industry—not to mention how many wannabe social media stars are now moving there.
“HEARTPRESSURE” taps into these themes as well, with the band teasing the ideas of what we see as normal. The song starts with another mini-skit that gives more context (“Hi, welcome to Denny’s”) and the rest of the song turns into a whirlwind of insecurities about fast food consumption. It’s another comment on the “shiny,” idyllic lifestyle, however “HEARTPRESSURE” is sung from the perspective of someone insecure because they don’t look or act like that. It feels good to hear Noir Disco poke fun at these superficial values rooted in the year 2021 because it helps us see how ridiculous they really are.
NOW! 2073 is an impressively original album that places listeners between eras—even if we don’t fully recognize the future they predict yet. The music makes the listener think about what’s next and maybe what can be better about our collective future. However, it also makes us think how we can do better now and let go of the insecurities and collective materialistic values we share.