• Nebula
  • Sweet Nothing
  • 2006-03-27

Apollo is the follow up to 2003’s similarly space-obsessed Atomic Ritual, and continues Nebula’s unsophisticated but fun-as-hell experiments in psychedelic rock. They number two former members of Fu Manchu as their founders, have been produced by the knob-twiddlers behind QOTSA and have toured with Mastodon. If you are familiar with any of these bands then you’ll know what to expect. However, whilst Apollo fits amongst those band’s sounds it doesn’t really sit alongside any. Putting to one side the lyrical subjects of mythology and space (Nebula aren’t really a ‘lyric’ band – it seems more about the overall effect) this is looser and less polished than the Queen’s canon, and although heavy is lighter than the doomy metal of the likes of Mastodon.

There is a no nonsense, unpretentious spirit throughout this record. It sounds like it’s recorded ‘as live’ in the main as most songs segue from one into another — but not in a smooth way — as new songs crash in on a drum roll or guitar solo. The album starts with four in-your-face bursts of Hawkwind-style R&R, culminating in the relentless and superb “Lightbringer”.

Their hair is stuck in the seventies, but their hearts and minds are in orbit.

This breathless tempo is maintained throughout most of the rest of the LP, but just when it begins to get a bit too much Nebula throw in a touch of variety — like the slightly menacing “Future Days”, which sounds like Screaming Trees circa Dust (but fronted by Dolf Datsun), or the cosmic Stones-boogie of “Decadent Garden”. This mostly works really well as the album reaches peaks, maintains them, then falls and rebuilds the riffage once more up to the last track – a reprisal of the opening instrumental jam (“Orbit”) which ensures Apollo hits the ground, and leaves it, running.

Their hair is stuck in the seventies, but their hearts and minds are in orbit. This is hoary, hairy, stoner rock of the kind that makes you want to cut the sleeves off your denim jackets, drink bourbon from the bottle and/or buy a Harley.

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