First Watch: NE-HI, 'Stay Young'

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NE-HI's second album, <em></em><em>Offers</em>, comes out Feb. 24 on Grand Jury.
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NE-HI's inaugural, self-titled album was full of pleasantly jangly garage rock. It led to an eventful 2015 for the Chicago band, including a Noisey premiere for its single "Turncoat" and supporting slots alongside Black Lips and Car Seat Headrest. Then, NE-HI was tasked with creating a follow-up that filled those shoes. Offers, due out Feb. 24, 2017, does just that.

"Stay Young," the lead single from Offers, is as hopeful as its title suggests. With lush, dreamy vocals and tinny instrumentation, the song is bright; the video, likewise, is washed in muted pastels and midday sun. It's also full of movement: Unrelenting wind blows the band members' hair back from their faces, picking up trash and hurling it towards them. There's a moment that could be from American Beauty as a plastic bag dances in slow motion, suspended in the air.

"In making this video, we wanted to manifest the feeling of growing older. With our city's reputation for wind, it only seemed fitting that we bring some winds of change to the video," guitarist and singer Jason Balla tells NPR in an email. "We spent the day running around the alleys of Chicago with the Weird Life Films crew, practiced falling and got to blast our friends with some high-powered leaf blowers. It was super goofy and a total blast."

The video for "Stay Young" also celebrates the urban landscape NE-HI hails from — the northwest side of Chicago. The juxtaposition of the song's sunniness with the grittiness of alleyways and stretches of apartment buildings alludes to a tension between the desire to stay young and the realities of aging.

"Watching the video, it reminds me of an animated yearbook, all our friends sort of captured in this time of change. As I leave my early 20s, I've been thinking about what it all means to grow up," Balla says. "I've done a good amount of my growing up in this city. From the people I've met here, I've learned the lesson of remaining young in spirit while growing wise with time. You're never too old to have fun and you're never too old to change."

Offers will be out Feb. 24 on Grand Jury.

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