by / April 7th, 2010 /

Nice Nice – Extra Wow

 3/5 Rating

(Warp)

Where do you even start with describing Nice Nice? The only coherent themes throughout Extra Wow are an impressive pace (particularly for a record that’s liable to put you in a bit of a trance) and shouty, incoherent vocals. The beats are strikingly repetitive, bordering on head-melting, and at times go right through you – if you listen to only one track you won’t be too worried if you hear another or not. String it all together, though, and you’ll soon find that Nice Nice are one of those bands that are all about atmosphere; that strive to make a whole that is vastly superior to the parts.

Extra Wow is not an album that’s easy to love. It’s heavily layered, pointedly complex and contains a whole lot of songs that consist only of minor volume and beat variations on the same pulsing theme. Played at high volume, Extra Wow is the kind of wall of sound record that will either have you banging various parts of your body off the furniture or reaching for the ibuprofen. Opening track -Set and Setting’ sounds like an extremely lengthy epic intro that never reaches the crescendo, while the “close your eyes and nod your head” part reaches its full, bizarre pinnacle at the height of -A Little Love’, a track that contains a high-pitched whining that seems to run through the entire backing track, but remains more than a touch catchy. The style is one of relentless genre switching: there are hints of electronica fused with an abundance of song-defining drum beats, a hint of complex, ear-assaulting rock and sporadic patches of instrumentation that seem to pop in out of nowhere. Not to mention to strained vocals.

This certainly isn’t the kind of record that’s going to win universal acclaim. It’s so complex in its construction that at times it makes your head spin, with each listen offering up a slightly different feeling stemming from the music. In a sense, you could argue Nice Nice morph depending on your own mood, with several tracks capable of playing any role from post rock to spaced-out, eclectic trance depending on which of the many strands has grabbed your ear at that particular moment. Nice Nice infamously lost almost their entire early version of Extra Wow when their computers died on them (always back up, kids), hence this album has been almost three years in the making. It sounds like it, too. Whether that’s a sound you’ll like or not’¦ well there’s probably too much imagination, and too many irritants, for Extra Wow to fall decisively into either category.

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