Nudity - Astronomicon (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Astronomicon (2015)

Iron Lung Records

Astronomicon, the new album from Nudity on Iron Lung Records, definitely boasts a strong pedigree of musicians, including members of Sex/Vid, Hysterics, The Need and other Olympia, WA bands. Even the engineer has a strong discography -- but this is an odd bird, particularly because it's a hard rock record and a very particular kind at that. Nudity is deliberately anachronistic -- the sort of charging but hooky rock here has guitar solos that sound like either Steely Dan or Hawkwind (and "Light and Grace" has the exact same drum rolls as "Reeling In The Years"), synth lines that sound like they were programmed from those little joystick machines that came in suitcases. Even the lead singer here has the kind of nasal voice that recalls that brief window of time when male singers in the late '70s and '80s were sex gods for reaching a queasy high note.

And this one is a mixed bag at least for me because of that. I'm not in love with '70s/early '80s hard rock and Nudity is likely for people who are, basically a small niche of indie music listeners (though Hawkwind is awesome). And as much as the songs are well-written and performed, there are two songs here over eight minutes and only one of them really deserves to be, the excellent closer "Here Comes The White Light." This isn't a bad album but I'll definitely cherry-pick what's staying on my iTunes and what isn't.

And honestly, if you like this sort of stuff, a mix of '70s-style psychedelia verging into metal and cock rock (and with just a dash of punk in terms of faster playing), this is a perfect album. It has the sort of dry hard rock sound of Hot Snakes and Rocket From The Crypt but also has much slower moments that create a nice variety of music -- instrumental "Myrna Loy/Leatrice Joy" in particular has a gorgeous, "Planet Caravan" smoothness and nice, soothing tom-toms. So if you want a good hard rock album to rip bongs and grow out your hair to (though it's still at a poodle stage, damn it), feel free to check out Nudity. After all there's something to say for loud rock that isn't punk and isn't as asinine as Muse or any of their ilk.