Wednesday, July 27, 2005

... I think I really love you?

The triumphant return of Caps and Spelling full-length musical reviewship also marks the first critique ever known to be published on The Full Nelsons' debut EP, T and Me. Bear with this humble scribe. There are very few words to appropriately express the multitude of incoherent thoughts one might have about this blissfully oddball music.

I Want to Take You on a Journey: words to signify the music performed on The Full Nelsons' T and Me.

Where to begin? The Full Nelsons is basically one guy (occasionally two) with a computer and minimal musical training, as far as I know. This gentleman, whom I shall call Nathan M splits his time between Mississauga and Ottawa, where he spends his days sitting, playing tennis, knowing about obscure icons of popular culture and apparently, producing catchy electro-dance EPs. The first of these is called T and Me, presumably in honour of square-jawed thespian Craig T. Nelson, who also gets name-checked in the record's first track.

Craig T. Nelson
I think I really love you
And that really disturbs me
Because it's ludicrous.

This mantra is repeated in a droning, spoken word-ish vocal by the artist, for much of the length of the first track. At various points, Nelson's various films are briefly discussed, as is his famed tenure as Hayden Fox, the often irate football coach on the television program Coach. Why does Nathan M love Mr. Nelson so? The lyrics stubbornly refuse to answer this burning question, lending the song an air of mystery. Astute listeners may even find a comparison with Tom Waits' "What's He Building in There?" However, it appears as something of an oversight that Nelson's most recent credit, as the lead voice actor in The Incredibles, was overlooked. Perhaps a follow-up song is in the cards? All this lyrical whipper-woo is accompanied by little more than a few interlocking synthesized drum patterns, which might be described as "beat boxey" in sound and texture. While the methodical pace of the song doesn't lend itself to the dancefloor as much as its kin, it's certainly representative of the Full Nelsons' sonic leanings.

The four other tracks that make up T and Me are peppered with similarly artificial rhythm sequences (genre-hopping between krautrock and jungle) and really weird vocals. But the tempo is lifted considerably to appease those so-called dance floor stormers in the house. Indeed, "Tobor" must certainly be about a dance. Maybe the kind that multi-tentacled sentient octopi from a distant galaxy would perform while listening to Kraftwerk for the first time, while aboard their mile-wide flying saucer hurtling toward a swirling vortex of doom and other dancing octopi. Surely the voice heard babbling incoherently throughout the song cannot be born of this earth. That, or Nathan M is intimately involved with the modulation slider on his digital mixer. Like "Tobor," "Rock Star Cowboy" just begs to be played by some psychotic DJ wearing a dinosaur mask. With the aid of a pulsating siren, Nathan (backed up on this track by the mysterious Cooper) preaches that The Full Nelsons want to take the listener "on a journey," and that "all in the club, we are doing what we love, we love to dance."

All this may seem rather simplistic, and it is. But The Full Nelsons are electronic music stripped down to its very core, augmented only by the cyclical recitative of a closeted eccentric. With more production money, it's the sort of intriguingly spare music that for some ears could stand up beside work by groups such as Junior Boys or Closer Musik.

It is said that there is a fine line between genius and madness. T and Me leaves the door open for either option. But it's something nonetheless. So for the few of you who own the record, cherish it until the sun explodes and we all grow tentacles and dance on the cold surface of Pluto.

*Selected downloadable tracks can be found here.

I Want to Take You on a Journey: words to signify the music performed on The Full Nelsons' T and Me.


Blogger the man with no name said...

your review brought a tear to my eye. thanks amigo.

i'm just putting the finishing touches on a new track from my lastest band, 'the old valley restoration society', tentatively titled 'attack of the party crasher'.

oh yeah, i'm also working on a review of your sophomore effort, 'War By Proxy', and an exclusive remix of one of the tracks. so expect that shortly too.

7/27/2005 12:20 a.m.  
Blogger The Fresh Young MikeyD said...

Although I didn't shed a tear reading that review I did laugh with delight and of course attempt to dance like alien octopi. I'm not sure how close I emulated them 'cause I've never seen them dance, but hey I got a good imagination.

Man alive the return of Nat Mac in the comment section is very good news. A War by Proxy remix and new Nat Mac music under the a Kinks' inspired name has got me very excited.

Punk is Dead, I love how you used dance floor stomers; that is by far the most apt term to use when describing the Full Nelsons.

7/27/2005 8:15 p.m.  
Blogger Punk is Dead said...

Thank you both for your kind words. I also had been wondering about the conspicuous absence of NatMac's occasional posting, but my worst fears have now been allayed.

7/27/2005 11:30 p.m.  

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