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decent but unnecessary curio - 60%

caspian, October 2nd, 2018

I rarely play Nadja these days; I'm not sure why I stopped really, sure there's been a fair few stinkers throughout the years from these guys but when these guys get it right there's very few bands that can match them. The way it all builds, the amniotic sac fluid drone that is still supremely well thought out, the fuzzy bliss.. It's a treat, and honestly I find it forever strange that these guys never got a whole lot bigger; it's long and drawn out but it's not that hard to get into if big walls of fuzz are your thing.

Stripped is of course a rather interesting little thing in that the fuzz is gone, and considering that overwhelming distortion is one of their main things.. It's like if Mortician did an album without horror samples and a drum machine. It's like if Manowar did an album where they exclusively sing the praises of old african spirituals. It's like if Opeth did an album with concise, effective songwriting.

The songs aren't bad in this format, coming out as some very very slowcore, Low in the midst of a heroin overdose, kinda thing. That said they undeniably lose something, and while it's a pleasant enough sound it's also rather sparse and hard to pay full attention to. Clinodactyl- man, I'd forgotten what an absolute banger this tune was- is still quite lovely but a 6 minute long version would've been better than the 12 minute marathon we've got here. Stripped of the fuzz and the twenty million layers of buzzing guitar, the songs are just too slow and too sparse to hold your attention.

Considering that the songs are already radically altered by the acoustic, gentle flutes etc- why not screw around with the structure more? Speed the tunes up a little bit, trim the lengthy instrumental parts down a bit, even fingerpick some of the progressions instead of the same old lumbering strumming pattern? Why not try a different vocal approach instead of the old quiet mumbles? So on and so forth.

I think on some other shit old review way back I referred to something called a 3 song rule- like, you can hear three songs in a row and you love it, but the album as a whole is a bit of a chore as there isn't the variety you need. Well, here you've probably got a take on that along the lines of a 5 minute rule. The flutes and accordion that wind their way around Flower of Flesh are lovely, but eventually you forget the thing is on, despite the achingly sad outro telling you to stay for a bit longer. Stays Demons has some nice flutey ambience floating around the background, almost Hecker sans laptop destruction kinda thing, but soon enough you're up to check the cricket score. So on and so forth.

Again not bad, and it's an interesting listen if you're already familiar with the blown out glory of the original songs. It's almost a bit movie soundtrack-ish really, there's just not quite enough going on to hold your attention. Not bad but definitely a fans only thing.