Every four years, the scene resets. With every college graduation and hesitant grasp of adulthood, there are bands being formed in the fire of heated Twitter discourse and surprisingly, actual recorded music. niiice. is one of those groups: formed in Minnesota, reinforced on the road, sustained online. In the aftermath of 2019’s breakout EP Never Better, the trio (guitarist/vocalist Roddie Gadeberg, bassist Abe Anderson, and drummer Sage Livergood) fostered a fierce commitment to their bits.
The gang could be found poking fun at Ben Shapiro, lording over virtual gigs hosted on doomed Minecraft servers, and serving up a sudsy, self-conscious blend of post-hardcore and pop punk. Somehow, they had time to write and record a sophomore LP. Internet Friends uploads niiice.’s neuroses to the cloud before blowing the whole thing up. For once, the niiice. defenders have not just logged on. They’re wired in.
Internet Friends captures the thrashing intensity of the band’s live set with the indignant self-criticism that brought Never Better cult status. “shlonkey kong” builds off wall-of-sound guitars while Gadeberg’s vocals volley between soaring and screaming. This record is full of other chameleon twists, like the hook buried snugly in “coachella” or the shouts that warn of the fuzzy breakdown on “free earl.”
Ultimately, the crisis of conscience that propels much of niiice.’s songwriting has entered the chat, too. It drips self-doubt into group texts, forces overanalysis of every shitpost and risky move, and ensures these tense moments hit differently than a party scene. Don’t get it twisted: the band’s still championing their best Midwestern life. It’s just further down in their list of concerns this time, but it still makes the top eight.