Nebula and Pluxus

Been raiding the racks at Soundclash and found:

Nebula – Charged (Sweet Nothing SNCD008)

As soon as the first track, ‘Do It Now’, kicked in, I knew I’d buy this CD. What can I say, I’m a hopeless sucker for Zepptastic rock rifferama. Nebula skirt round stoner rock and, strangely, end up somewhere a lot poppier and definitely more concise. But actually looking at the track times, they’re all 3 or 4 minutes, they just seem shorter cos they’re so riff-packed.

‘Beyond’ has twiddly mysticism coupled with an entirely ridiculous (and therefore great) wah lead line over some prime rock-boogie. ‘Giant’ kicks in with an offbeat riff that’s a hi-fi cousin of Sludgefeast’s ‘Rock’n’Roll.’ In fact, I’d rather compare Nebula to the Sludgies than most retro-rockers cos they have the same heavy passion for riffs.

‘Travelin’ Man’s Blues’ has the same swagger plus a rocking acoustic and some silly slide lead. The strange thing is that some of these songs remind me of Johnny Thunders in spirit but not actually musically, they haven’t got that 50s punkabilly rumble. But there’s something in the growly, croaky, snarly vocals that’s just as nasty in the same way.

‘This One’ opens with a riff that’s half-Zep, half-Kid Rock. And yes, it’s begging to be nicked. Again, it’s a solid poppy song. In fact, all of the 10 tracks on this CD grab you and keep you. ‘All The Way’, the closer, is a sprawling nine-and-a-half minutes of phasing space riffs and kazoo lead. A kind of Californian cousin to some of Spacemen 3’s more heavy stuff. And of course, it speeds up to a spuming excess of solos and riffage. Yeah! Plus there’s a tiny spooky coda…

So nothing innovative here musically, no stupid time signatures or pointless audio tinkering but what you do get is an *excellent* heavy metal album that kicks the shit out of most current nu-metal offerings. Whereas most of the new rockers have that superclean, digital sound, Nebula have made a filthy (maybe grungey?), unapologetically guitar-worshipping album. Not only that but it’s one hell of a catchy album.So many riffs…

Buy this album if you want to forget being cool and just jump up and down on your bed again like you used to to Rainbow. Don’t buy it if you like idm or jazz.

I also bought….

Pluxus – Och Resan Fortsatter Har (Rocketgirl RGIRL28)

This CD came out in July of this year and it’s a current top-selecter on my Jukebox. Pluxus are Swedish funsters and you can find out more about them than I know at their site:

http://www.pluxemberg.com

But I’d warn you that it’s entirely Flash-driven and you have to wait bloody ages for everything. The discography’s 260k, for god’s sake!

Net gripes aside, Pluxus’ album is a beautiful, pootling, tinkling album of synth poppery. All 9 tracks are instrumentals apart from the last, ‘Forstatt ni, sa gar jag hem’ which has some whispery vocodering on it.

The tracks take turns in being dark and moody in a 1978 analogue-synth style or just loony-tuney, Moody-and-Peg-y, Ploney silliness. At first listening, the silly tracks like ‘Djurens Kavalkad’ did my nut in, with its stupid fast-marching bippiness. But they do grow on you more with every listen.

‘Magnetisken Falt’ is perhaps the catchiest but as we’re talking consistently extremely poppy melodies here, that’s arguable. The moodier tracks, like ‘Sniff,’ sometimes remind me of proto-house workouts. Apart from lacking the bass-end whump, they share a lot of the cheapcore elements of early house and electro.

Melodically, the whole album has quite a dense interweaving of countermelodies. I didn’t notice the complexity on first listening because the openness of the production fooled me into thinking it was simple synth-pop. It’s not. Even though the songs are short (20 minutes for 9 tracks), they’re better structured than most electropop which tries to work in this area.

Buy this album if you love electronic music, bleepy sounds and classic Vince Clarke-y melodies. Don’t buy it if you’re looking for angsty singer-songwriter dirges

love and kisses,
Jyoti