North Carolina trio Nest Egg are Harvey Leisure (guitar/vocals), Ross Gentry (bass/keyboards) and Thom Nguyen (drums). They’re in the business of krautrock, according to some writers. It’s a good starting point. The rhythm section are motorik adepts, and the groove hooks you in from start to finish. What happens in between swells and throbs, sometimes spacious, sometimes impossibly dense.
In six songs totalling 41 minutes, Dislocation barrels through territory encompassing krautrock, psych, noise, post-punk and even goth. So clearly it’s not just one long homage to Hallogallo, but nor does it veer into the territory of pure experimentalism or soundscape. The relentless rhythm makes damn sure of that. It also proves that a 20-minute Ash Ra Tempel epic isn’t necessary for atmospheric effect – each tune gets down to business with minimal fuss.
Opener Eraser kicks off with a swirl of synth. Clattering drums and pulsing bass establish the framework for dirty, churning guitars and mournful vocals. The tension steadily increases. A brief reprieve makes you wonder what they could possibly do next, before acid stabs of guitar deliver the answer: more tension. A crescendo and a fadeout: a masterclass in musical drama, and it’s only song one.
A squeal of feedback over a steady drumbeat could be a Fugazi intro, but then the bass and guitar arrive with a surfy twang, and Dislocation kicks off. Again the rhythm is a resolute pulse, never wavering. And again, within that limitation, the dynamics of jagged guitar and aggressive synth are impressive.
Clattering drums and pulsing bass establish the framework for dirty, churning guitars and mournful vocals…
D.B. Cooper the man was a mysterious highjacker; D.B. Cooper the song is a showcase of Nest Egg’s more restrained side. It’s uncluttered and thoughtful overall, with shards of guitar and snare, and a squealing bridge, providing contrast. It feels like Wire’s more spacious efforts.
What! I’m A Bastard!!?? is a short and surly burst of noise. It snarls and squalls for under two minutes, and gives us a glimpse of Thom Nguyen’s bombastic heavy hitting.
Helix goes interstellar. Weird percussion combines with abstract synth and guitar, and anticipation builds. The bass and drums signal lift-off. Understated vocals and floating, dancing guitar lines take you far out into the void, before melting into swirling keys and white noise.
Final track Gore manages to be both sprawling and dense. There’s an immense surge, as melodic bass and spikes of discordant guitar build to a claustrophobic peak and descend again to a more subdued madness.
It’s quite a journey. Nest Egg takes the familiar ‘Apache beat’ of Neu! and some of their early comrades as a back bone, and makes it their own. It becomes a constraint against which to flex their creative muscles, and brings out some pretty cool stuff.
Dislocation can be at times tense, dense, and noisy, or sparkling and spacious, and always a little bit gloomy. Now I’m off to dive deeper into their earlier albums.
Scribed by: Rob Bryant