by Ben Adsett
Some records start with a bang. This is not one of those records…
This latest EP from Danish three-piece, Nelson Can, opens with ‘Break Down Your Walls’; with a simmering bassline the vocal takes over and is unmistakably beautiful. Depth and sweetness develop in the foreground as the backing gently crescendos into a harmonic chorus. Within one hook the drums kick in. This drum beat takes the comparison from an almost folk subtlety to an unsubtle rousing slice of dreamy pop. As the vocal once more takes control the climax takes everything up to a new level and quite rightly returns to a subtle vocal focus to conclude.
As this six track offering develops, small elements begin to present themselves; the sweetness and beauty of the opener takes on a much darker shade, basslines develop to deliver vintage haunting tones and the introduction of breathy vocals and building gang harmonies complete the noir makeover. Within darkness, EP3 really embraces individuality and the contrast between gloom and sweetness makes both more poignant.
This gloomy beauty has a vintage European feel which flows effortlessly through the middle of the release as tracks blend faultlessly together. These fades are so clever, with vocal tones and drums creating the path into (and out of) tracks without losing momentum or feeling. The flow between ‘Digging Your Grave’ and ‘Downtown’ is sumptuous and there is barely time to recover from the theatrical bass line before it crawls into subtle dread.
As the EP hits its darkest point ‘Miracle’ steps in. Full of hooks and an almost smutty bass part, there are nods towards music spanning decades; to New Order and beyond. The chorus is a moment of euphoric electronica. Once more there is a faultless transition and the next track, ‘Move Forward’, is an absolutely huge slice of electro-inspired genius; vocally beautiful and musically fascinating.
The cleverest thing about EP3 is that even within six tracks it is almost impossible to see where it is going to go next. As final track, ‘Stonewall Frank’, those dark eighties vibes are momentarily overtaken with indie punk; it’s more Yeah Yeah Yeah’s than New Order. The sudden ending leaves your ears hungry for more, (I guess that’s what the repeat button is for though!).
With a seemingly never ending selection of musical influences and the talent to drastically change styles within six tracks it is very hard not be excited by Nelson Can. These six tracks would each be a wonderful introduction to the band but the combination and clever transition between tracks make this one of the standout EPs of the year.
EP3 is out on Alcopop! Records now.