When Ne-Hi emerged in 2013 from Logan Square’s raucous basement scene, the band was a microcosm of the neighborhood around it: scrappy, charming, and unabashedly rough around the edges. With new wave guitar riffs and laid-back lyrics, the psych-rockers’ self-titled 2014 debut separated them from the pack of indie-rock upstarts trolling the East Room bar.
The foursome’s follow-up, Offers, out February 24 on Grand Jury, finds Ne-Hi succeeding where many of its peers have failed: blending punk rock bona fides with hummable, sophisticated pop music. The opener, “Palm of Hand,” swings with stuttering simplicity. “Prove” glistens with Strokes-style guitar chug from Jason Balla and Mikey Wells. On “Drag,” drummer Alex Otake lays a staccato framework for whiplash guitars and choirboy harmonies, the band’s signature dichotomous sound. In all, the album shows musicians three years older and wiser, having learned to balance the turbulent and the tranquil.