Nerve Picnic - Sonaquarium

Year of Release: 2005
Label: independent
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 74:32:00

If there is a band that I haven't been able to quite figure out during these last few days, it's gotta be Nerve Picnic. Now, you might disagree and instead question why I'm not mentioning Limp Bizkit, but, first of all, I'm trying to figure out a band, not the people that like the band. And secondly, I don't attempt the ludicrously impossible. So Nerve Picnic it is. And never, ever, ever bring the aforementioned nu-metal band to the forefront again. It gives me headaches and sends me on rampant suicide runs. Seriously. Now, back to the matter at hand?

There is nothing inherently confusing in Nerve Picnic's approach, which really hasn't changed significantly in any of its three releases: meandering structures, eternally repeating chord progressions at times, layers and layers of special effects, a stoned-beyond-Zen-Buddhism sense of humor, and the analog pool of mud production already mentioned in yours truly's review of Factory Of Dreams. So what is so confounding, you ask? Not that it would take years to ponder how the members of Nerve Picnic could think that anyone upon this Earth can remain focused enough to listen to one of their albums in its entirety. Not which illegal substances were involved in the making of the record, either. That which challenges the mind is instead why the quality of the band's material improves as one moves backwards through their discography. Wait, did I just blow it regarding my upcoming review of Phalanx Of Sounds? Dammit!

Cleverly (or perhaps not so cleverly) disguised foreshadowing aside, however, the verdict is that Sonaquarium is indeed a more rewarding experience, if only slightly, than its successor. Effects, although a large portion of them still sound like they were produced by cheesy children's toys, are used more sparingly and tastefully; a stronger shade of structure is present throughout the proceedings, and there are no vexingly smothering moments this time around. The setback? Well, it's also a bit more boring in the end, if not because of anything else, because it's not as annoying. But perhaps also because it has more of an unfocused jam session ambience than Factory Of Dreams does, yet retaining a nature that is just as sprawling and undirected. Good ideas are to be found by the interested scavenger, and even short flashes of inspired interplay show up here and there, but the end result is simply too amorphous and way too self-indulgent.

Yet, once again, the dynamic trio of Linder, Schaeffer, and O'Neal manages to become endearing in the process, much like the high school friend that was always stoned but was so nice that he was always allowed to tag along. Sure, the humor of "What's On The TV?" ran its course with the speed of a Ben Johnson, and much of the music on Sonaquarium is a guaranteed way of keeping oneself from ever being focused, but there is something na?vely charming about it. However, chances are that one would still be embarrassed if caught listening to this. Put it this way ? if you like Nerve Picnic, you'll eat this up like a starving Roseanne Barr would eat a tender child; but otherwise, you will prefer to shy away, as if tempted by a lifetime of disciplined exercise. You've been warned.

Similar artists: Rick Ray, Ash Ra Tempel, Gong, Forever Einstein

House Of The Spiraling Moon (3:18) / Sonaquarium Phase 1 (22:11) / Nitelite Boogie (3:57) / Desert Angel (6:06) / Sonaquarium Phase 2 (9:18) / Deep Water (9:00) / What?s On The TV? (2:56) / On The Loose (3:03) / Sonaquarium Phase 3 (14:39)

Matt Linder, Mike O?Neal, Bill Schaeffer - synthesizers, guitars, theremin, keyboards, effects, percussion

Phalanx Of Sounds (2005)
Sonaquarium (2005)
Factory Of Dreams (2005)

Genre: Electronic


Added: March 18th 2006
Reviewer: Marcelo Silveyra
Artist website:
Hits: 861
Language: english


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