Nels Cline | Coward

Cryptogramophone (2009)
By MIKAEL WOOD  |  February 18, 2009
3.0 3.0 Stars

09020_nels_main
A long-time fixture of the West Coast experimental-music scene, Nels Cline might now be best known as a member of Wilco, whose Sky Blue Sky from 2007 was rescued from dad-rock irrelevance by his distinctive jazz-roots playing. There's no mistaking Coward as a dad-rock exercise: this is an unabashedly brainy (albeit beautiful) examination of the sounds one can draw out of a guitar, from acoustic plucking all the way to electric thrashing. "Thurston Country" is about as song-based as Coward gets, and its title nod to Sonic Youth's frontman is not undeserved. Fans of steel-string giants like John Fahey and Leo Kottke will recognize much in Cline's approach, though he doesn't offer up folky melodic figures quite as easily as do his forebears, and neither does he seem as interested in satisfying anyone else's idea of solid structural design. Rather than move from point A to point B, his compositions here simply inhabit a space for an amount of time, then cease to be. Being There 2, you could call it.
Related: Evolution rock, Second job, The band's the thing, More more >
  Topics: CD Reviews , Sonic Youth, John Fahey, Leo Kottke,  More more >
| More


Most Popular
ARTICLES BY MIKAEL WOOD
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   THE CHEMICAL BROTHERS | FURTHER  |  July 07, 2010
    Astralwerks (2010)
  •   DEVO | SOMETHING FOR EVERYBODY  |  July 01, 2010
    Given the theory of de-evolution these Ohio brainiacs began expounding more than 30 years ago, it makes a sad kind of sense that Devo's first album since 1990's Smooth Noodle Maps offers such a charmless, base-level version of the band's synth-addled new wave.
  •   TAIO CRUZ | ROKSTARR  |  June 24, 2010
    When Taio Cruz sings, "I can't live without you," in "Take Me Back," pop-song conventions tell us he's referring to a lover.
  •   THE FUTUREHEADS | THE CHAOS  |  June 16, 2010
    "I wish that I could stop the noise," sings Barry Hyde not long into The Chaos . It sure doesn't seem that way.
  •   BETTYE LAVETTE | INTERPRETATIONS: THE BRITISH ROCK SONGBOOK  |  June 01, 2010
    Bettye LaVette’s previous two albums had titles that required a little digging to unpack.

 See all articles by: MIKAEL WOOD