The Night Is Young

by aimsel ponti, the portland press herald, 10.27.06

Mitch Alden’s primary interest as NOW is NOW’s front man is to be in the moment during every show and to make people smile. He’s not interested in being a rock star, and he doesn’t even cop an attitude.

The back cover of their new record “Never Go Back” shows Alden and band mates Drew Wyman and Neil Carroll looking all serious, but they’re not fooling anyone; NOW is NOW is a band whose glass is always half full and with good reason.

“Never Go Back” is their third record, and I dare say it’s my favorite. Alden continues down the path of songwriting sincerity and covers topics ranging from the simple joy of a warm spring day to some serious soul searching in the title track.

For the moment, my favorite is “Over & Over.” Do you ever have one of those moments, especially in your car, when you hear a song and you just kind of become one with it and it washes over you, and for those couple of minutes, not a heck of a lot else matters?

That was at about 7:45 on a Monday morning. “I’m gonna fly so I can be next to you, I don’t know why, it’s something I gotta do,” sings Alden in his distinctive voice that reminds me some of Live’s Ed Kowalczyk.

Then there are the sweeping harmonies courtesy of huest vocalist Joe Brien. “Over & Over” is one of the slower ones, but the rest of the record has an effervescent pop-rock thread running through it.

Alden’s guitar has never been stronger, and Carroll keeps a righteous beat. I was also dazzled on many occations by Wyman’s bass, especially during “young Man.” Killer Stuff.

NOW is NOW puts on an electrifying live show, and I know I can’t wait to hear the new stuff in person. Bummer that I’m gonna be away this weekend, but it’s cool because NOW is NOW loves to gig and there will be other chances in the coming months.

But if you make it to Ri~Ra on Saturday night, please fling a hug, handshake or high five to Mitch from me!

aimsel ponti is music correspondent for the portland press herald.