Philly punks Nothing are back from the brink with a new record that draws on some really, really bad times.
In short, it’s imbued with a sonic adventurousness that Syd Barrett and Brian Wilson would find intoxicating and occasionally somewhat familiar. So ‘Everyone’ dices up The Beach Boys’ ‘Vegetables’ and chucks in a music hall piano to create a heady psych stew, while ‘Smoggy Bog’ propels Pink Floyd’s ‘Interstellar Overdrive’ bassline to Warp Five and takes ‘Astronomy Domine’ for a joyride around the galaxy. But elsewhere they cast their net much wider than the usual pysch hegemony. Ten minute opener ‘Bobby’s Song’ has a motorik beat that morphs into a gypsy hoedown, while the title track starts with ominous pianos before turning into a full-on guitar riff-tank. Admittedly, it’s a tank made of faded denim, footballer perms and Deep Purple sew-ons: pretty useless on the battlefield, but aesthetically impressive nonetheless.
The highlight is the iridescent beauty of ‘Blue Mantle’, as delicate and dazzling as a snowflake. Its refrain (“I’m waking up love”) sounds like it’s sung from the middle of heaven itself; its timid splendour may just make it the most beautiful song of the year.
‘Luna’ isn’t for the faint-hearted, fashion-conscious or dull-witted. Kooks fans seeking a challenge should keep exploring the outer reaches of The Fratellis’ oeuvre. But for people after a patchouli-scented patchwork of thought-provoking musicality, The Aliens have landed.
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