Omaha’s music scene has yielded a huge quantity of incredible indie rock acts over the years, especially through Saddle Creek Records acts like Bright Eyes and The Good Life. One of the youngest contenders in the river of bands from the River City is Bokr Tov, an outfit that specializes in pushing the boundaries of indie. Nov. 30 marked the release of the band’s debut full-length album, “Nothing Is Immune.”
The album consists of nine tracks that revolve around guitar-heavy songwriting and clean pop vocals. While the underlying instrumentation stays mostly the same, the album is formed by a medley of differences.
“Nothing Is Immune” contains vast variations in feeling and subject matter between songs. With three separate songwriters, the album’s lyrics tackle a wide assortment of messages including everything from pastoral naturalist poetry to falling asleep while driving. Despite these differences, the band begins to form a sense of togetherness in the catchy melodies and wailed vocals that carry the band throughout all of its songs.
The album kicks off with a bouncy overdriven guitar ditty called “All My False Names” that instantly demands attention. Lead singer C. Allen Jenkins bursts in with frenetic and catchy vocal lines that are hard not to sing along to after a few listens. After a chaotic drum roll build and a “woo” from Jenkins, the band makes clear its sound as a tight rock ‘n’ roll band — at least for the next few songs.
Released as a demo on its self-titled EP earlier in the year, the fourth track “Narcolepsy” comes in softer than the others. Fading in from what sounds like ocean sounds, the song gently floats the listener onto a steady drumbeat and twinkly guitar interplay that creates a calming and hypnotic state similar to its namesake condition. The vocals are more restrained than on other tracks, at least until the chorus where Jenkins lets loose an emotional howl of “Don’t close your eyes, don’t say goodbye,” which signifies a plaintive yearning that can be heard throughout the album.
The wistful steel guitar-laden single “Constant Clones” comes next, letting the guitars wander around the recording at points and snap into strict rhythm-based sections at others. The traditional instrumentation even peels back halfway through to make room for a charming trumpet solo. After escalating with more and more energy, “Constant Clones” ends with a vigorous and intriguing chant that demonstrates the transcendental thoughts of its singer — “at least I can’t feel the passage of time.”
The title track follows and bursts into one of the album’s catchiest and most upbeat melodies, tag teamed by guitar picking and a descending line of whistling notes. The track instantly turns any winter trudge into a warm summer walk.
The album’s B-side contains more of the slower-paced psychedelic sounds that float around whispered lyrics and spacey, melancholic guitar arrangements. The album concludes with “Galley Slave,” a track named after Drago Jančar’s 1978 novel of the same name. Bassist Andrew Randolph’s rhythmic line propels the track into a haze of swirling guitar sounds and gnarled vocals that build and compound on each other as the song progresses. With one last softly delivered line, “in silence,” the song disperses into feedback and fades away, making for a powerful conclusion to a dazzling debut album.
With “Nothing Is Immune”, Bokr Tov shows the world the talent and care the band places into every song. With all the different rock styles blended on the album, there’s something for any listener and any occasion. Each member implants beautifully memorable melodies and rhythms into their audience’s brains that sound amiable while carrying lyrics that advocate introspection and typify personal weight. With a solid debut album under its belt, Bokr Tov has solidified a bright future in the Omaha music scene and beyond.