Nebula : Charged

Beyond stoner rock, Californian group push riff envelope

For their third and – without a doubt – rockingest album, these three former Fu Manchus have exhumed psychedelic blues-rock riffs so ancient they’re tattooed in woad. And then crossed them – we’re visualising duelling axes on a stadium stage here – with the fury of The Stooges. The result is ‘Charged’, an album that takes the glib stoner rock soundbite and forces strong acid on its tongue.

So, it’s a guitar trip: to the desert, into a lava wheel, to Detroit, often in the space of one song. ‘Do It Now’ sets the co-ordinates, freewheeling through the proto-punk era with the help of lysergic solos and a chorus so brilliant, it’s virtually autistic: “Let’s do it/Do it now”. For all their shared stoner pedigree, Queens Of The Stone Age aren’t really Nebula’s most obvious reference points. ‘Travelin’ Man’ suggests a bong and a boogie ’round the campfire with The Black Crowes, while ‘Ignition’ finds Nebula in a grunge moshpit, slick with that conviction that huge fuzzy guitars are all you ever need to hear – past, present and future.

And, you know, they could well be right.

Kitty Empire