Pele – The Nudes

The Nudes

I’ve been hearing quite a few bands try to do the instrumental rock thing lately, and those that can’t be simply lumped into the center of all sounding the same at least try to take a different approach. What makes Pele so interesting and able to stand out from the pack is the trio’s incorporation of a very free, very jazzy style into their own brand of rock. That, and the fact that each instrument is featured here. This is not a guitar-focused band or drum-based band. The guitar, drums and bass play equal importance, which makes for an interesting mix of sounds.
The problem that Pele runs into is that these songs tend to mix into one mess of music. Not a single track jumps out at me as being “the track.” Rather, perhaps the band is trying to go for a consistency and flow to the album. Regardless, I’m left afterwards not remembering a lick. But while it’s playing, I’m constantly intrigued by the way the guitar plucks along all over the place, the bass goes from highs and lows, and the drums – probably the highlight of the band – mix things up even more.
“Nude Beach Pin Hole Camera” starts off with a lot of low-end bass and very pretty, melodic plucked guitar. There are some chimey numbers that give a nod to bands like Tristeza, but the jazzy drums, which are always all over the place, definitely keep this one interesting. Things get a bit more subdued and gentle on “The Mind of Minolta,” even with hints of a country-style twang to the guitars. The little blasts of guitar over light high-hats and pretty guitar licks make “Visit Pumpy” another strong track. There’s a much more free style to “Total Hut,” held together by some well-strummed acoustic guitar. “Gugi” finally ups the pace a bit, with a definitely more pop structure and also the most normal structure, using repetition throughout. The band could have used a stronger closer, although the bass on this track is pretty impressive.
All in all, Pele’s new album is a delightful listen, but not one that’s likely to stick by you. This band is masterful in its ability to create light, jazzy rock songs, all around the 4 to 5 minute mark, that have numerous subtle variances to wow you, if you’re paying attention. If you’re not paying attention, you’re likely to just think it’s a pretty diversion.