Miami is available at:
The album Now Is Your Time To Deliver is available through:
Now Is Your Time To Deliver
Here To Stay
Talk About It
A New Condition For Life
You Don’t Know
15th September, 2014
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
WHAT with the British ‘spring’ (being somewhat predictable), it is nice to throw something…
fresh and new into the mix. Having (come off the back of) reviewing Marisa Rodriguez- a Berkshire-based songwriter- my attentions move further away: all the way to Denmark. My featured act have had quite a busy (last few weeks): having supported Royal Blood (through their tour of Scandinavia) the two acts share common ground. Whereas there are two Royal Blood boys (three girls in Nelson Can) their dynamic is the same: just vocal, drum and bass- no guitars or tinsel. The sound being produced- from Nelson Can and Royal Blood- is much in demand: it is the meat and bones of Rock; pure grit and primeval ooze. That is not to say (this type of music) is merely swaggering and dumbed-down lyrics: Royal Blood have shown you can mix relatable words with some nuanced and crowd-uniting sounds. Living near (to where Royal Blood hail), I have seen few comparable acts: those bands (or duos) who go back to basic- and harness the delirious, gilded sounds of ‘Classic Rock’. The modern scene (is seeing) too many effete bands: those that do not get under the skin; have no masculinity or potency- just vague sound and aimless wandering. Before I continue on, let me introduce Nelson Can:
“Nelson Can is a Danish trio founded in 2011.
Bass, drums and vocals.
Members: Signe SigneSigne, Maria Juntunen and Selina Gin.”
Nelson Can are a rarity: in the fact that they are a female trio. If you were to name three other (acts of this formation) you might be hard-pressed (Haim are the only one that come to mind). In fact, female bands (of any sort) are a rarity- the mainstream still favours/produces a mass of male-dominated bands. I have always been for equality in music- in terms of gender and age/race- and to my mind, music lacks that. Bands are too homogenised and predictable: beholden to age-old principles and male-only clans. Nelson Can hail from Denmark: a country few of us think of (when it comes to new music). I am excited about them for a number of different reasons. There are a lot of female (solo acts) but few bands: we need more of them coming through. In the realm of new music (there are quite a few) yet few translate to the mainstream: here is an act that is going to hit the big time (in next to no time). It is their passion for music- contemporary acts like The Black Keys; older bands like The Doors- which goes into their sounds. Instilled with personality, punch and passion, Nelson Can are one of the most immediate and jaw-dropping acts around: songs that defy you to ignore them. It was perhaps inevitable- giving they have a lot in common with Royal Blood- their recent (mini tour of Scandanavia) was such a success. I hope the girls get to the U.K. very soon (I know they have dates here later next week). I can well see them rocking Reading (and Leeds), Glastonbury (and the Isle of Wight Festival) in the next few years: perhaps playing the same bill as their Brighton brothers of Rock. Nelson Can work off the principles of dogmatic growl; sparse sounds- the essence of urgent Rock. In a time where piano-laden swathes (litter overly-earnest ballads) the Danish trio defies convention: roll with more authority than most of their male counterparts. With so many of the ‘old guard’- like Foo Fighters: a band I can’t stand the sound of- slopping into middle-age, Nelson Can are a much-needed injection of force. Now Is Your Time To Deliver (their new album) can be taken too ways: either a shout-out (to their contemporaries) or a mantra to themselves- that desire to show everyone exactly how they do things. Celebrated and critically-acclaimed (in their native Denmark), fans from around the world have studied the L.P.- fallen in love with its mesmeric sounds.
If you are new to Nelson Can (most of us will be) it is worth checking out their early sounds. This time last year, the girls burst onto the scene: Attack was a typically suitable title. Before then, the trio had unveiled releases: their self-titled E.P. was released in 2012 (and was their debut cut). Attack was their most immediate- and to my mind, best- representation: that moment when they hit their peak; really started to hit their stride. Being phenomenal out of the block (the song) has coo and bounce: it is a slow-build that entrances and entices. Having a sense of dance to it (it is a song that flirts with Electro.-Pop elements) with trip and headiness. Husky and sensual vocals arrive; the smoke and sass comes through- the vocal reminded me parts Florence Welch and Bjork. Tighter and more intuitive (than their debut E.P.) the girls are seamlessly in-step- there is not a loose or unsure note. That said; the trio makes the song sound cool and relaxed- in spite of the fact it is a taut and focused assault. Raw emotions show their intent; yet there is plenty of melody and calm: the marriage is a beautifully memorable one (and their finest track to date). EP2 arrived (not long after Attack; the song featured on the E.P.) and expanded on their early promise- new inspiration came to the fore. Call Me When You Want To Get Laid contains a typically astute and alluring introduction. The title- and indeed the chorus- has its tongue in cheek; there is sarcasm and grit; sexiness and directness- the girls are at their most cutting. Twists-a-plenty lurk with wordless vocals: there is a terrific dynamic that runs throughout; the song builds before quieting down- then comes back for more (matching the sex-seeking tableau). The song’s ‘hero’ comes across vividly: there is twist and unexpectedness amongst the lyrics. With a sound that seems inspired by Detroit- and the likes of The White Stripes- there is a distinct Nelson Can approach- the girls merely sprinkle hints of others (such as The Kills and The Doors). A beautiful mix of whistling, whisper (and spit) makes it a tremendous track. Go Low (the E.P.’s swansong) is a memorable closer: tribal and ethereal beginnings make it an instant vote-winner. Shades of Icky Thump (The White Stripes’ final album) can be detected; Blues Rock-cum- Soul peeks out (The Black Keys’ influence too) – the girls are in fine form. Another tight and superbly performed track, that mixture of loose and perfectionism arrives- a song that sounds effortless yet vital. With an effecting mantra- “Dig yourself a deeper grave”- is a song you are loathed to forget. Since those records, the girls have arrived at their L.P. – their most expansive representation to date. Containing the same mix of energy and soothe (as their previous work) the L.P. takes it a step further: there are new shades and sounds (to be heard). Tracks like Glorious and A New Condition For Life are particularly standout- older numbers like Attack and Go Low are on the album. Seamlessly blending their old sounds (with the newer) every song sounds natural and focused. The biggest difference- since their early days- is the sense of identity. The trio sound more unique- and take fewer parables from Stripes/Keys/Doors etc. – and have crafted quite a distinct sound. Keeping those Blues-Rocks sounds intact, they have expanded: developed as songwriters and really sharpened their pen. The vocals- from Selina Gin- are more confident and assured; the bass and drum positively crackle and ignite- the three-piece are at their most urgent and impressive. This not only bodes well for the future, but will come to the fore (through live performances) – the U.K. is in for a treat (when the Danish act arrives in the next few days).
Having listening (to Now Is Your Time To Deliver), I have selected its opening number (to review) – my favourite song from the album. Miami– not to be confused with Will Smith’s track (thankfully) – spares no time (in getting off to the races). Groan and bubble starts to build (a synth.-like sound comes out; only created through bass). The wordless vocals- a trademark for Nelson Can- start to come out. A call-and-response chorus is presented- ‘yays’ and ‘ayes’ swirl like a centrifuge. With some impressively powerful percussion- played with focus, control and passion- back up the vocals: the bass does a tremendous job of ramping up the emotions. In the same way as Royal Blood- especially on tracks like Figure It Out and Loose Change– whip up quite a storm, the girls do likewise (only their ace card is a slow-build of vocals and mood). You can hear the tension (and palpable) cries: before the first verse arrives, your mind is already conspiring and imagining. It is said- “All these rules and regulations”- let our heroine be; live her life (as she wishes)- the words are delivered with an impish sense of desire. With a distinct (Danish) accent mingling with some Florence-esque prowess (the vocal) is a powerful and driving force: it never comes across as histrionic or overbearing; just in control and direct. Positively bursting at the seams, the voice becomes hotter (and heavier): backed by some fuzzed/blissed-out bass (and punchy percussion) the song swaggers and sways. Fuzzy and hazy; moonstruck and delirious, you are caught in the moment- when a musical parable is unleashed, you get a chance for reflection. After an exhilarating and lustful opening, the girls transform the psyche: ‘60s Psychedelia mingles with ‘90s/’00s Blues-Rock haze (as though Jimi Hendrix and Jack White have decided to jam together). Putting my mind on a sun-kissed highway- not sure why; just does- there is a breeze and heat to proceedings (a slight kiss of Queens of the Stone Age’s desert luster comes out). Perhaps Miami is an apropos title: the beaches and sun; the sensuality and bare flesh- there is evocativeness within the song (that puts your mind there). Before you can demure- and slip into your imagination’s desires- that primal coda comes in- the calls and swirling “someone”s hit the brain like a ballistic explosion. Never encroaching or overly-harsh, there is sensuality, subtlety and sensuousness- that dynamic is something Nelson Can has perfected. Miami is a song that is both instant and nuanced: a song that reveals new traicks (and pleasures) with each listen. Those who think ‘here is a female Royal Blood’ will have to think again: the trio is their own masters. Sure, they contain just bass, vocals and drums: their sound is completely different. Betraying a debt to nobody, their unique flair (is the abiding takeaway). Flecks of The Black Keys, Florence and the Machine (with a drizzle of The Kills and The White Stripes) is detectable: they are minor notes in (an otherwise) heady boiling bot. Having listened to the track (six or seven times) a few things come to mind: the kinship is at the top of the list. The girls sound completely tight and in awe: as though they have been playing for decades. Few (new) bands have such a close-knit and natural bond- this makes the song so much more impressive and immense. The vocals trip inside one another; overlap and play- never tripping over their own feet. Bass work is constant and imperious: one of the most stunning facets of the song. Urgent and driving; melodic and delirious- it is a wonderful performance. The drum work stomps and rolls; pulses and kicks- giving the song a taut and authoritative backbone. When the three unite, you get the biggest shivers: the most forceful tingles are elicited. There are more urgent and primal tracks (on the album) although few are as delirious- the kind of song that can unify the hipsters, Rock aficionado and Miami beaches (into an armistice of sweat-dripping dance). Suitable for the twilight bars (as it is the clement lust of the sand), Miami is a wonderful track- and a perfect way to kick off their album. Make sure you investigate the track; keep playing it to death (as it is will never leave you brain).
After a successful- and hugely memorable- tour of Scandinavia with Royal Blood, the girls are preparing to head to the U.K. On Wednesday, the trio is in Shoreditch (an area of London I hope to move to very soon) and will be entrancing the London throng. From there, they head across the U.K. (in addition to playing other London dates) – before heading away. I would urge anyone- whether you favour their brand of music or not- to go see them play. A slightly new commodity, the girls will certainly grow in reputation: their U.K. gigs will set many (music publications and critics here) into a frenzy- compelled by their incredible sounds. Many reviewers and commentators have bemoaned (the fact there are few ‘genuine’ rock acts around): it seems like Royal Blood have been carrying a very heavy torch. It seems the perfect time for Nelson Can to shine: take the opportunity to stake their claim; pitch their tent in an empty field (and inspire legions of others). Whereas most of my female-led music (is from solo artists) it is great to hear a female band: one that rocks harder and more strikingly than any out there. I am not sure why there are (in comparison to the men) few female bands; it is something that needs to change- the likes of Nelson Can will change that. Now Is Your Time To Deliver is an album packed with awesome songs: all quite brief and memorable; no fillers and wasted moments to be found. In spite of the fact (the album has been out for a few months) the girls must be looking forward to (the rest of the year)- perhaps a new album or E.P. is in their mind? They will certainly be looking to take their music on the road: perhaps the likes of the U.S. and Australia will come calling? Let’s hope so, as they have terrific everyman personalities; that desire to succeed and inspire- that hunger to enthrall crowds far and wide. Miami is a terrific lead-off track; a clarion call of desire: a great representation (of what the album contains). I shall depart (with a scant thought) concerning the girls: their plans for 2015. I shall do my best to come see them play (if not this time around; when they next come to town). I know they are comfortable in Denmark, yet I hope they make the U.K. their ‘second home’. Being a unique act, there are ample venues that would welcome them in: festivals like Camden Rocks seems made for them! With the summer looming (theoretically at least) their time is now: that window to grab the critics by the scrotum (and rip it straight off). Filled with attack, direction (and lust) the girls are no one-dimensional act- their loveable personalities and natural warmth makes them a fascinating prospect. Apologies if I have vacillated too much…
BUT here is an act you need to seek out.
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