Nerve – ulu
Listening to Nerve, the fourth release by ulu, I can imagine a hot
night out on the town turning sweaty. Some friends around, a few drinks and
such in me and the band onstage with the volume pressing the notes against
gyrating bodies. All in all, it would be a night to get a good groove on.
I think about that because, on its latest studio effort, the band
implies what it can do as much as it fulfills any and all musical promises.
problem isn't with the musicianship. It's solid. And the songs move along
fairly strict confines of the jam jazz aesthetic that throws a little funk
early '70s soul into its mostly instrumental mix of sax/flute, keyboards,
and drums. The combination reminds me of Topaz's The Zone. While I
criticized that album's slick production values, the material and
them. Here, it's not always the case.
Occasionally, Nerve is hampered by the band members' desire to give
the listener a pristine-sounding representation of the music. In this case,
the focus on such matters can make some of the numbers sound labored
Paul" "Rollin'"). Sure, there's a nice groove moving 'em along. And I will
that upon several listens what initially didn't move me started getting
my skin, but it's still a noticeable fact when compared to the second half
the album. "Spare Tissue," "Shady Lady," and "The Tragic Flight of Sir
Hawk" are examples of the quartet displaying a fire in its belly that's
elsewhere. The ballad "Reunited," and even the interesting choice of
covering David Bowie's "Space Oddity," act as nice counterpoints to the
For those who are enthusiasts of this style, ulu can serve you well.
In my case, the band took me for a bumpy ride that got better with each