Nudge As Good As Gone

[Kranky; 2010]

Rating: 2.5/5

Styles: experimental
Others: Stereolab, Tortoise

For every ridiculously imaginative term describing one of the countless flash-in-the-pan tributaries recently descended from a given musical genre, some clever dilettante is self-administering a celebratory backslap for coining it. And for every such triumph, Nudge roll around to throw a monkey wrench into the whole business of tidying up. The usefulness of singular labels has always been met with suspicion, but, for the sake of convenience, most of us can’t deny the fact that we habitually apply such authoritative tags to the artists we admire. Accordingly, Nudge are just keeping us honest with their latest album, As Good As Gone.

This record doesn’t sound expressly original: Nudge’s isn’t by any means a brand that thwarts all stylistic categorization. It’s just that As Good As Gone is a bit too jittery to really characterize itself. The intricacies and finesse of these seven songs attest to the band’s self-assurance, but the album — a distinctively aggregate entity — doesn’t quite establish a clear-cut identity.

Nudge vacillate through smooth trip-hop (“Two Hands”); weightless ambience (“Aurolac” and “Dawn Comes Light”); moderate dubstep arrayed with burping, burbling electronics (“Tito”); and eerie stoner rock (“Burns Blue”). With some genealogical backtracking, one could probably put together a rather convincing argument suggesting common antecedents and, thus, the common qualities shared by these aforementioned genres, but the album skitters about too often to reveal the connections.

Honestly, the album would have benefited from a few more pieces serving to fill in the gaps. Again, in regards to the mechanics of each song, Nudge prove themselves matchlessly dexterous. But As Good As Gone lacks the unity that may have otherwise etched a truly unique personality for the band.

Links: Nudge - Kranky

Most Read