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First Listen: thenewno2, 'thefearofmissingout'

NPR icon by Stephen Thompson

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A sort of supergroup, thenewno2 (pronounced "the new number two") features Grammy-winning sound engineer Paul Hicks and Dhani Harrison, son of George and founding member of Fistful of Mercy — yet another supergroup, which Harrison shares with Ben Harper and Joseph Arthur. Together, thenewno2 is about to release its second album, thefearofmissingout; out July 31, it's a concept record about, well, the fear of missing out. As such, it packs together a dizzying array of ideas, sounds, samples, guests and all things buzzy and busy.

Hicks clearly contributes much of the clatter, chopping up odds and ends in a way that renders the guitars, pianos and drums slightly askew — it's a fizzy, whiz-bang concoction that also functions as sleek, stylish rock 'n' roll. In spite of Harrison's lineage, his father's influence rarely seems to extend beyond the occasional vocal similarity; if anything, thenewno2 feels more inspired by Radiohead than any given Beatle.

The album also, for fear of missing out, rarely misses a chance to experiment and surprise, from an excursion into hip-hop (complete with a guest rap from RZA in "The Wait Around") to the wall of churning fuzz which dominates "I Won't Go." The whole affair radiates urgency, giving fearofmissingout a sense of restless energy that helps it sound both independent-minded and eager to please.

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