Complex, yes, but it’s well worth working Extra Wow out.
Leonie Cooper 2010
Portland, Oregon: land of bespectacled gals sporting itchy vintage dresses and bearded blokes in Velma from Scooby Doo cardigans with a thing for DIY alt-rock and vegan brunches heavy on the alfalfa, right?
Well, when it comes to Nice Nice, you couldn’t be more wrong. Playing together since the end of the last century, Jason Buehler and Mark Shirazi – who took the Nice Nice name in 1999 – might be Portland based, but they’ve done a damn fine job of setting their stall well away from the aforementioned Oregonite music-maker clichés. Architects of knackering, baffling noise, their sound is a multi-layered, many-stranded trip across far-flung corners of the globe and back again via late-night noisecore, early morning electronica and heavy handed acid-disco hideaways.
Opening up with Set and Setting, the album starts as it means to go on, with spiralling sitar-esque sounds sitting alongside squalling feedback freakouts, thundering drums and widdly spaceship bleeps. The result is a glorious, mind-melding mess that is as oddly comforting as it is confusing and never anything less than intense. Segueing seamlessly into 2009 single release One Hit, which boasts Gregorian punk overtones in its mangled clatter, it’s not exactly what you’d call easy listening. But beneath it all there’s an impressive musicality that’s difficult to ignore.
Three years in the making, Extra Wow suffered what you might call an epic setback when, halfway into recording, Nice Nice’s computer crashed, causing them to lose most of the music they’d already laid down. Undeterred, they started over and, from the ashes, crafted a genre-defying phoenix which touches on everything from swirling 1960s psych and garage shakedowns (Everything Falling Apart) and semi-sinister sun-glazed beats (Make It Gold), as well a brief flirtation with the commercial on Big Bounce, which, with its Avalanches and Lemon Jelly by way of The Big Pink springtime swagger, is proof that the pair can do delicate as well as all-out sonic destruction. New Cascade is an equally dainty number, but perhaps treads closer than is advisable to the murky world that is ‘chill out’.
It's complex, yes, but it’s well worth working Extra Wow out.