The Nielsens: Questionably conceptual three chord punk rock 

Sunday 03rd, June 2018 / 09:40
By Brittany Rudyck 


The correct blend of horror and poop jokes  
Photo by Milo Knauer

EDMONTON – The Nielsens may write about their fave sci-fi flicks and get gory on a few tracks, but their new album, Blurry Photos, hopes to be more than that. If Parks and Recreation jokes count, that is. Born of a punk rock super group/solo project several years ago that included SLATES, the Blame-It’s and Old Wives, the Nielsens now have a secure line-up based on the vision of Ryley Conroy, though it’s hardly just his way or the highway.  

On their official debut, Blurry Photos, the Nielsens borrow several tracks from the original demo that came out over two years ago, injecting them with extra punch. 

“I write songs constantly,” explains Conroy.  

“So we had too many songs to begin with for this album. Some of the newer songs were written around the same time as the demo, so it’s more cohesive. And we had Jesse Gander of Rain City Recorders work on it for us, so the sound is a lot better than what I recorded.” 

The first track, “Casserole,” is what you might expect from the Nielsens, who have come to be known for the macabre themes in their music. It’s a shade over two minutes of pop punk similar to the Riverdales or the Lillingtons.  

“And they say that a woman’s dead. The killer cleanly removed her head,” are lyrics that don’t seem like they should be catchy and fun, but upon a listen or two, it’s hard not to nod along in willful agreement. 

“I haven’t been around murder or decapitations,” says Conroy, laughing.  

“But I am a big movie nerd. Chrispy Workun (former guitarist) and I originally bonded over dumb conspiracies and horror movies, which lead me to write what is now the demo from a few years ago. It’s kind of cool it’s expected now. I’m obsessed with that stuff but I might have pigeonholed myself in a sense. Everything is so high concept that if I just write a song from the heart, something emotional, it feels like I’m not allowed to.” 

Not that any of the tracks will ever be too serious or emotional. “Hot Snakes” refers to an infamous Chris Pratt poop joke from Parks and Recreation. There’s also a song about eating too much Taco Bell and throwing it up. 

The band may be based on inside jokes and pop culture references, but there’s room to grow now that the band is a a team effort. They’ve all ready been writing new material together and plan to take it easy this summer in preparation for a potential fall tour. 

“The demo is what it sounds like when it’s pretty much all my input,” explains Conroy. “I still wrote all the songs for the new album but the other guys added so much to it. If it were just me it would be a way lamer album.”  


The Nielsens will perform with Norell, Sleeping in Traffic, and Grizzly Trail and release Blurry Photos on June 8 at Temple (Edmonton) 

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