Monday 28 January 2013

Review: NUDE - 'Plastic Planet'


'Plastic Planet'

When a press release claims their new band covers every genre and is guaranteed to please everyone, it is wise to be poised for disappointment. Apparently able to channel everyone from Joy Division and New Order to The Cult and even HIM, this Italian five piece already have a lot to live up to before the opening bars even begin. A lone synth starts the first track, then chugging guitars join the sound. At this point opener 'Shining Stardust' could go either way - cliché or awesome. The guitars drop into the background and charismatic, goth-rock vocals take over. The catchy, hook-laden chorus kicks in with electro bleeps and a driving drum beat. From this point it is clear these guys know what they're doing and are doing it very well. Awesome.

Although NUDE have technically been together for over ten years 'Plastic Planet' is only their second release, having been on hiatus since their début 'Cities And Faces' in 2001 through Scarlet Records. This is their first via My Kingdom Music and is a very welcome return. 'Down In The Garden' is more guitar heavy, utilising the bass and keys for an old school goth-rock sound perfectly. 'My World Today' is more relaxed but no less catchy, the kind of low-key dark rock that Paradise Lost made their own. 'Neon Smile', as the name suggests, features more synths with distorted guitars taking a back seat, letting the electronic beat and keys take over. The result is a subtle 80s synthpop flavour without digressing from the band's already established style.

'Shanghai Basement' continues the high energy, running rhythm but just as the song begins to sound familiar they manage to seamlessly drop in a break and guitar solo. The track snaps shut and the next kicks in. The album continues in this vein, each offering has atmosphere, depth and guts thanks to the balanced synths and reverbing guitars. The title track is equal parts self-reflective and celebratory, both lyrically and musically, and one of the best on the album.

Final song 'Much Better' surprises again. The guitars take a classic rock tack, the synths stay high and the chant along chorus end the album on a clean, crisp high. Probably exactly the way they wanted it.

NUDE are clearly experienced musicians, confident and passionate about what they do, and have managed to produce something that lives up to the hype. Ten full tracks of awesome.

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