June 21, 2005

Nudge "Cached"

Portland, Oregon's Nudge is a bit of an interesting art-rock supergroup. Consisting of members of noise-rockers Jackie O Motherfucker, electronica-funsters Fontanelle and the experimental band Strategy, you would probably not incorrectly assume that the fruits of their collaboration would be noisy, mellow or just out-and-out weird. It's somewhat shocking, then, to discover that Nudge really isn't any of those things, that this band of serious musicians has made a record that's not particularly serious and is, in fact, a loose, casual affair that's an entertaining listen.! And though there are moments that might remind the listener of Fontanelle or Strategy, Cached isn't a side project that builds on each performer's main band.

Instead, what you'll find on Cached, Nudge's third album, is a serious band that's intent on being a bit playful; opting to give the listener fun, funky grooves instead of serious, austere musical passages. Opening number "Classic Mode" is a blend of new wave-minded dub that's heavily reminscent of A Certain Ratio, and is accentuated by the seductive vocals of Honey Owens, which then segues into the mellowed-out groove of "Standing on Hot Sidewalk." The mood is exceptionally casual; on "My New Youth," Nudge find a rough, sloppy New Order/Cabaret Voltaire-ish groove, and then they stop playing completely, which, after a few seconds of electronic squeaks and blips, delves back into the groove. The effect isn't a stop/start; it sounds more like a rehearsal that happened to be recorded--which it very well may be! Melodies are attempted, played around with and abandoned with a curious feel, and though it sounds as if the band's on the verge of falling apart, it's certianly not the case, as underneath all of the loose playing on "Remove Ya" and "Dee Deet" is a groove that blends both dub and early 80s industrial/dance. Does it sound incongruous on paper? You bet. Does it work in practice? Surprisingly, yes.

Cached is a refreshingly light, enjoyable record that never demands too much of the listener and fits comfortably into most settings. It's a record that sounds great when you're getting ready for a night out, hanging out with friends or simply talking to a friend on Instant Messenger. Thankfully, Nudge has proven that being arty doesn't have to be complex or devoid of pleasure. Here's to more fun records like Cached!

--Joseph Kyle

Artist Website: http://www.kranky.net/artists/nudge.html
Label Website: http://www.kranky.net

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