A NYUGHATATLAN - RESTLESS
A Nyughatatlan are:
Kornél Kovács – vocals, guitar Bianka Hajdu – vocals, guitar Krisztina Varga-Hajdu – vocals, piano Attila Petrovits – double bass Zoltán Bartus – drum
If this year’s Bedlam Breakout and has taught me nothing else, it’s that bands from unexpected corners of the globe can be very, very good at what they do. Hungary’s own A Nyughatatlan (‘Restless’ in English) won Entertainers of the Year, Band of the Year and Instrumental of The Year at the 2022 Texas Sounds Country Music Awards festival in America, and how many other groups for whom English is a second language can boast that kind of acclaim? Originally leaning hard of Johnny Cash covers, they’ve now progressed onto albums comprised of their originals and you can expect smooth, heartfelt, bass driven country that sounds a world away from the frosty streets of Budapest.
Arizona - named after the state to field the first tattooed senator in American history, it’s moody and controlled. This is a band who are completely in charge of their sound, from the cinematic rhythm guitar moments to ghostly backing vocals. A confident opening track that hints at so much more beneath the surface far from the sight of the ‘fallen angels’ that haunt this tune.
Country Song - you’d hardly expect death metal with a title like that. A delicate number of lost love that will make you wonder who hurt Bianka with gutsy guitar ready to spring into action, it’s a song for long nights of spirits and listening to Jolene on repeat, wondering where your love has gone.
Destiny - The brakes come off for this rockin number with that satisfying slap bass click and a big uptempo chorus. This has got to be a favourite when it’s performed live with such a killer guitar solo right in the middle.
Midnight Honey - Vintage rock n roll country that’s good for the soul with dreamy, wistful vocals that elevate this song above the classics it builds on.
About Your Love - Powerful and anguished vocals that must light a fire inside when you hear them live take this dark country number in a really fun direction. There’s a simultaneously modern and timeless quality about this record which is really apparent by the time you hit this track, and it’s clear why they’ve won international acclaim.
On The Run - The intro is slightly folky in a Blue Cats kind of way, then suddenly On The Run morphs into a catchy, indie country pop tune with a great chorus that’s bound to get stuck in your head. On first listen to this album I was not entirely sold, but on the second listen layers upon layers of interesting aural construction are revealed, and this is one heck of a fun song.
Take Me To The Mountain - More sweet tones of nostalgic longing for a past love paint this song sepia and make even the hardest hearts skip a beat.
Long Long Road - Alternating between faster, rockin country driving songs and heartbreaking ballads seem to be a feature of A Nyughatatlan’s music, and it’s really working for them in creating a very professional and very comforting record. There’s a chance this couple might get back together if they manage to get over the fact there’s a ‘long, long road to climb’ and it’s a wonderfully hopeful number.
Queen of Hearts - My favourite song on the album which bears no resemblance to the Hillbilly Moon Explosion song of the same name. It’s got it all: a blurring between the real world of the grinding guitar and slap bass, and the ethereal infatuation in the vocals between the singer and his ‘work of art’, the beautiful girl in his mind.
Life Is Not Enough - Taking it up a notch with a faster, jumpier track is a good move as we’ve swerved back into rockabilly territory. The combination of the two vocalists is fab here as they support each other and give an extra dimension to the runaway message.
So Lonesome - this could be the companion piece to Queen of Hearts. He’s hung up on her, she’s separated from him and pursuing her own lonely path. For those of us who love a midnight song of loss, this is your song. Listen to it under the stars by a campfire.
This is an unexpectedly beautiful album that does not do what it says on the tin. If you’re looking for the Cash-worshipping, stetson wearing band A Nyughatatlan used to be then you won’t find it here, but if you want a grown up record of loss and nostalgia flavoured by road trips down lonesome roads across a desert, then you need to get this album as soon as you possibly can.