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This review is from: Car Boot Soul (Audio CD)
Nightmares on Wax is one of those legendary one-man bands who crop up every now and then (also known as George Evelyn, but that doesn't sound as cool). Even the "merely good" work by people such as he is astounding, inventive and really fun.
And "Carboot Soul," his third album, is no exception: it's an amazing mixture of chillout electronica and acid jazz. It's a bit less hazy than his 1995 "Smoker's Delight," but that isn't surprising -- here Evelyn pulls on various influences to flavour his music. The title fits this album: it's soulful, yet it has as many influences as a "carboot" rummage sale.
It begins on a symphonic note in the epic "Les nuits," which seems to herald a new music direction. Don't be deceived. The symphonic build-up leads to funky grooves and jazzy flavours in "Morse," which continues to the brassy "Easejimi," the mellow murmurs of "Finer," and the wonderfully peculiar "Argha Noah." Say that last title out loud, and you'll understand the joke.
But there is a slightly more delicate style near the end, when Evelyn switches to the gently rippling guitar of "Fire in the Middle," the melancholy acid jazz of "Survival," and the eerier, more symphonic sound of "Capumcap." Evelyn ends the album on a high note, with those sensitive, lower-key songs.
It's hard to find groups as good as Nightmares on Wax -- scour the top hundreds, and you won't find anything like this. I personally found "Carboot Soul" in a tiny hole-in-the-wall music store, in the "used" bin, although it's hard to imagine why anyone would discard an album like this.
Despite the chillout label, Evelyn's music has a sort of relaxed warmth that counterpoints the icy sound of many other bands. He also has a good ear for samples and beats, lacing them with razor-sharp drums and some wonderful brass instrumentation. Sara Winton's rich voice is used well, crooning, "A bottle like a model shipwreck/where did it come from?/Where will it go?/A face without a name/survival..."
"Carboot Soul" is another triumph by Nightmares on Wax, and another wonderful display of George Evelyn's considerable talents. An absolute joy.