N*E*R*D return with their latest release ‘Seeing Sounds’ on June 9th and before we get started there is one thing you have to give these guys. Whether you love them or hate them you have to give them their due for a consistent streak of incredibly well produced material. This is the third outing of Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo under the N*E*R*D imprint (you will doubtless be aware of their other aliases primarily The Neptunes).
Once again they turn their hand to a blend of rock, hip hop, pop and funk and bring together another cohesive result. Pharrell sums up the secret of their success in one fell swoop “We don’t care about genres. Why would we?”. it’s a valid statement as well because the reason that N*E*R*D and associated projects work so well is because it’s evident that the dynamic duo set themselves no boundaries when it comes to making music. Lyrically and musically there is no pretension in their world, they have a knack of doing whatever comes naturally and such an unforced approach pays dividends in their work.
They land with nary a slice of self doubt nor pretension and the results are original even if they are a touch on the kooky side, starting with a cinematic intro, right through to the floor friendly approach of the opening single ‘Everyone Nose (All The Girls Standing In Line For The Bathroom) then you have the freeze dried vocal of ‘Spaz’ mixed with shutter speed breaks and at times even a nursery rhyme approach to song writing, it doesn’t seem to matter which direction they take because the results always seem to rich dividends.
Elsewhere you have a 70’s hot buttered soul approach on tracks like ‘Yeah You’ which drifts along on a relaxed tide of synths and vocals while being buoyed up by a sprightly jazz bassline. Contrast this with the epic builds in the next track ‘Sooner Or Later’ and you have an idea how quickly things can change in the world of N*E*R*D. There’s a bit of dare I say it prog rock stylings (although shorter in length) in ‘Happy’ which is a chunk of funk rock for the Prozac generation.
Highlights include ‘Kill Joy’ which if there is any justice should make the next single with it’s unparalleled funk workout ethos. As for anything that detracts from the album, well in truth there are weaker tracks on offer (‘Love Bomb’ is one example) but as a whole they don’t detract from the listening experience of the album as a whole so in summary this is a worthwhile investment of your time and cash.
Right now N*E*R*D are in the middle of Kanye West’s ‘Glow In The Dark’ tour in the US but they will be hitting our shores for the Isle Of Wight Festival on June 13th and a show at London’s Brixton Academy on June 14th.