Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Nazz – Nazz Nazz

The second album by Nazz is cleverly titled Nazz Nazz and continues in the same vein as the debut release – psych-pop concentrating strongly on melodies and layered harmonies on top of a great band.

This record doesn’t open with anything as supremely powerful and catchy as the first album’s “Open Your Eyes”, but “Forget All About It” is a bouncy, pop tune with an irresistible beat and memorable chorus.

Hammond organ dominates “Not Wrong Long” (funny title and concept for the lyrics!), with Beach Boy-esque harmonies washing over you during this extremely short song! “Rain Rider” opens with a sound and chord sequence that makes me think that Rundgren was listening to the Small Faces’ “Song of a Baker”. This is very similar to that bit of mod-psych-pop. Good call-and-answer section, too.

There is a real melancholy feel to the slower “Gonna Cry Today”, but it retains Todd’s penchant for lovely melodies. “Meridian Leeward” is just a little too overtly psychedelic, with its goofy lyrics about being a pig, and is one of their weaker numbers.

One of their heaviest numbers ever is certainly “Under the Ice”. This is practically proto-heavy-metal, though still extremely melodic. Thom Mooney really shines on the drums here as he lets loose throughout. While these cats never let themselves go completely, this is one of their wilder rides. Todd has some fine moments on guitar, as well.

Obviously referencing McCartney, “Hang On Paul” is very Beatles-esque in a “Say It’s Your Birthday” kinda way. An up-beat and fun frolic that shows that Todd could cop other people’s styles seemingly effortlessly and still make a real song. Well, the liner notes of this CD tell me that I’m wrong and this was written about Todd’s previous manager, Paul Fishkin. Regardless, the Beatles influence is undeniable.

“Kiddie Boy” is a boppy, horn infused, old fashioned boogie-blues accented with fine guitar from Todd. Fairly innocuous overall. Moving back into a pure rock sound is “Featherbedding Lover”, which comes across as an almost head-banging number. One of their toughest and least poppy tunes – good, heavy blues-rock! Switching gears again is the pretty pop-ballad, “Letters Don’t Count” with its inter-weaving vocal lines.

Clocking in at 11minutes, 15 seconds, is the tour-de-force, “A Beautiful Song”. This is the bands attempt to blend all of their influences into one cohesive whole. Starting out with a horn-driven, r’n’b-ish instrumental section which turns into a more psychedelic jam. This then changes to a blues-rock guitar segment before the vocals finally come in on a psych-pop number. There’s another turn into a hi-energy guitar piece as the song comes to an end. A little schizophrenic, but still good stuff.

I think that first album is a little more consistent and has the better songs overall, but this is still a great piece of psych-pop-rock!