- 21 Aug 18
The Big Music From The Lone Star State
As soon as the chorus of the opening ‘Rolling On’ – preceded by an intro snippet – kicks in, you know where you are. In deep in the big, wide pop that’s come back into vogue lately – sky-bothering choruses carried on a bed of lush instrumentation. A fan of Jonathan Wilson or, going back further, the more grandiose end of McCartney, or the bearable bits of the Floyd? Then Mr Nash’s latest is for you.
Having gotten his start in and around New York, Nash moved to Dripping Springs, Texas in 2011 and gathered critical acclaim with 2013’s Israel Nash’s Rain Plains, and 2015’s Israel Nash’s Silver Season – both strictly analogue recordings which stringently eschewed digital techniques, a practice continued, with great success, here.
Multi-tracked choired vocals (everywhere), orchestral brass (‘Looking Glass’), prominent pedal steel ('Lucky Ones’, ‘Hillsides’, all over the place), and gorgeous strings (‘Strong Was The Night’) are only some of the ingredients Nash throws at the wall. It’s the sound Sturgill Simpson might make if he lived in a bong, and I’d be very surprised if there wasn’t a well-worn copy of George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass back at Nash’s ranch.
There are many touchstones – ‘Spiritfalls’ unconsciously cops a bit of Iggy Pop’s ‘Lowdown’ and lets Crosby, Stills &, eh, Nash sing it, while ‘The Widow’ is Fleet Foxes covering Dark Side Of The Moon. The whole thing sounds like the Flaming Lips of The Soft Bulletin/Yoshimi deciding to dip their toes further into Americana, especially on something like ‘Hillsides’ where Nash attempts to capture his beloved Texan vistas in a bottle. If you've ever wondered what The Electric Light Orchestra would have sounded like if they had come from the other Birmingham, then here's your answer. In a world that has already fallen for the similar-but-different War On Drugs, Mr Nash should be on a winner.