Emerging from underground venues in Chicago's Northwest side, NE-HI made its name on both its live energy and cleverly wrought guitar anthems. On its second album Offers, the band takes those basement-forged instincts and refines them, lets its guitars explore new angles, and focuses its songwriting. The result is a stunner if not a statement that there are a wide range of post-punk possibilities yet to be explored.
Offers is NE-HI finding that rising to the occasion means living up to your own standards, not someone else's. The band entered Chicago's Minbal studio in January 2016 to record ten songs with Dave Vettraino engineering, but scrapped most of the session. To finish the record, the group needed to tap into the sense of wild abandon that set it on a course in the first place. It had to get somewhere new, without forgetting the spirit of the journey in the first place. NE-HI went back to touring, writing, rewriting and returned to Minbal in March more solid than ever. It recorded most of Offers live at Minbal to capture the energy – only overdubbing vocals.
Offers drones, it captivates with soaring pop, it shimmers with atmosphere, always changing, looking. The album veers from the staccato pop of "Palm of Hand" (which nods to Chicago's Disappears) to the jangly pleasures of "Stay Young." The off-kilter, ultra-catchy "Sisters" refines the carefree feeling of the band's debut – picking up the spirit of New Zealand pop. Title track "Offers" feels like a slight departure, the band pushing its most abstract and unpredictable instincts. On "Prove" the band's post-punk guitars come at blistering tempo, it's the band's most athletic moment yet. While the punchy drawl of "Buried on the Moon" conjures a less sleepy early R.E.M. or Let's Active.