Sunday, May 16, 2010
What one month blogging-absence?
Sorry. I'm a bit of an internet-less transient at the moment but the arrival of this new album by the Nash was too monumental not to take some time to blog about. Or, at least, it should have been.
Anyone else slightly underwhelmed by this this latest effort? I am surprised (and disappointed) by how little I have engaged with High Violet. It's a slow-burn, to be sure, and The Nash have gone in a darker direction (of course, I might like it more if I listened to it somewhere other than in a car or on a tinny computer). It's denser and more obtuse than their earlier work. Beringer's lyrics which created such an immediate and personal reaction (at least from this listener) on The Boxer are often too cryptic to really engage with this time round.
The Boxer beautifully referenced and recreated those moments of tension, humour, melancholy and mundaneness that occur in relationships and life in general:
I want to hurry home to you and put on a slow dumb show for you and crack you up (Slow Show)
Walk away now and you're gonna start a war (Start a War)
And my sentimental favourite:
You know I dreamed about you for 29 years before I saw you (Start a War, again)
But on High Violet, for instance, Beringer tells us "I'm walking with spiders" (Terrible Love) and he is "afraid I'd eat your brains" (Conversation 16, which to be honest has a cracking opening drum and is a refreshingly upbeat track on an overly mid-tempo album). Metaphor or zombie reference? You make the call.
The lyrics just don't seem to resonate this time around and the music is slow and samey in spite of its dense layers.
The popular favourite from this album is "Blood Buzz: Ohio" which, again, is a catchier and more upbeat track. When Beringer sings to us that he "still owes money to the money to the money I owe" we can empathise but can't help but feel the rhythm of this lyric is a little too familiar, he seems to be recycling himself:
Ada don't talk about reasons why you don't want to talk about reasons why you don't want to talk (Ada, The Boxer)
I suppose it's silly and unrealistic to hope that you could grow old with a band and have them conveniently release an album to mark your every life transition and I'm just not in the same place these guys are this time around I guess. That said, they played a benefit gig in NY the other night and the concert was filmed by the incredible documentary-maker, D.A Pennebaker. My heart aches at the thought of having missed this gig. And aches a little more at the thought of potentially missing their June concert at the Radio City Music Hall because I might still be here. Despite this particular album making little impression, The Nash has made an indelible print and all I want to is to get back to NY and see them again.
Here is a link to The Nash performing "Bloodbuzz: Ohio" at said gig last Saturday, as filmed by D.A. Pennebaker Esq (two thumbs down to youtube for banning embedding.)
**Note: For those of you who prefer your reviews to be slightly more substantive than the "I just found it boring ya know?" evaluation here, please visit Jonathan's fantastic blog and delight in his adoration of this album. I wish that it had enveloped me the way it has him. His review is terrific and gives Pitchfork, Stereogum and the rest a serious run for their money in this blogger's humble opinion.