Nakatomi Plaza Ghosts

After ten years of living the DIY life and pushing for a happy-medium merge with the corporate music industry, Brooklyn punks Nakatomi Plaza walk away on their own terms, calling it quits with their fourth full-length, the self-released Ghosts. Listening to the album within the context of the white-flag state of the band, Ghosts plays like a seething final send off (use the lengthy goodbye letter liner notes as reference), and while this is crucial to the final resting place for the band and this album, on its own, it's their strongest work. A thick, shiny popcore hook fest, it showcases the band at their peak. Singer/guitarist Oscar Albis Rodriguez and bassist Al Fair have mastered their signature vocal trade-offs on "Bomb Shelter," while on "Artificial Light," a more straightforward, Nirvana-esque pop drone rests atop the typical manic technical arrangements that have always made Nakatomi Plaza a compelling outfit. Wrapping up the band with the statement "who cares if they fire us/we'll just quit" on driving, anthemic album closer "The Finish Line" is a fitting final testament to the mindful punk culture philosophy that has carried them from the beginning to the end of their self-made run. (Independent)