Mise en Place (Father / Daughter)
Reviewed by Libby Webster, Fri., June 23, 2017
Alex Cohen embraces the inevitable ache that comes from young adulthood, the fumbling awkwardness of growing into a person you may or may not have expected. Mise en Place, the second album from Austin/Brooklyn fourpiece Alex Napping, is fiercely comfortable with discomfort, although the band's iridescent indie sound and playfully arranged compositions betray brooding narratives. "Fault" opens with an uneasy, jerking guitar line, a stop-start rhythm undulating beneath Cohen's honeyed sighs as she grapples with both how she feels about herself and a relationship. "Living Room" swims in nostalgia, the idea of abandoning familiarity in search of the unknown, while "Wife and Kidz" sounds almost resentful, sparse and sinister: "You talk about your wife and your kids, like you've met them before, like you've known them for years, but where do I fit into all this?" The LP is named for the French culinary term referring to having all of the ingredients, utensils, and equipment laid out ahead of preparing a meal, but in Alex Napping's world, the narratives are impossible to prepare for.