Nebula – Holy Shit

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Ok, first things first, it takes some¬†cojones to call your album ‘Holy Shit’. It has to be good.¬† Very good. If it’s bad, you’re setting yourself up for lots of very easy (and wholly justified) abuse. And then, add the extra pressure of being one of the founding fathers of desert rock and this is your first album in ten years…well, you may as well paint a bullseye target on your back.

So it’s a pleasure to report that ‘Holy Shit’ is a triumph, from beginning to end. It’s Nebula doing what Nebula do best, psyche scorched desert/stoner rock with a few trippy twists. There are no grand reinventions or concept albums going on here, it’s just good, solid fuzzy stuff by one of the best of their ilk.

In a squall of distortion and a cry of “all praise be to Lucifer”, they’re off and there’s no looking back. You quickly find that not much has changed on planet Nebula. It’s lo-fi and nicely sloppy. Some space rock FX circa 70’s Hawkwind leads into a spindly police siren riff and thence into a far out Dead-esque jam before the fuzz returns with a wig-out vengeance…man.

‘Messiah’ slows the tempo and lights the incense for a Doomier trip and a very ‘8 Miles High’ style solo. It’s exceedingly retro and sludges out bodaciously. There are a great deal of guitars-dialled-up-to-max grungy riff fests on offer throughout – ‘It’s All Over’ roars along over some throat-shredding vocals while ‘Gates Of Eden’ is straightforward desert garage band fare – with added noodling and wah-wah trippiness.

Oh yeah, the twists. ‘Fistful Of Pills’ is 90 seconds of twang and fuzz – a dangerous grunge Western theme, ‘Rawhide’ on bad acid. The brilliant ‘Tomorrow Never Comes’ ebbs and flows lazily, shapeshifting from a bluesy MC5 vibe to a Latin/Flamenco outro. Grooving like a desert Calexico. While still defiantly stoner these guys are no one-trick pony, no one horse town. I wonder if Tarantino is considering remaking ‘The Wild Bunch’…

Special mention must be made of ‘Let’s Get Lost’. No, it’s not a dusty Chet Baker cover. What it is, though, is Nebula making a bid for the nihilist anthem of the year. It’s a blast of guitar abuse, bad Hendrix feedback and peak channelling of The Stooges. Howls of “Let’s get fucked up” atop some brutal, Neanderthal rock pig virtuosity, with, I think, a wah wah snippet of The Cult’s ‘Phoenix’ thrown in. It’s an end of days oblivion drive, baby.

It all ends with ‘The Cry Of A Tortured World’ – a 7 minute desert rock kitchen sink epic. Distorted powerchords creating huge waves of fuzz…a fuzz tsunami! A fuzznami! Until it finally strums itself (ooh err) to a suitably stoned, sloppy finish.

So yeah, holy shit indeed. Pretty much business as usual…but after a ten year gap. Any pressure or expectation stress was casually, noisily surfed over. But then, that’s the stoner way, they probably hadn’t even realised it had been that long. Welcome back dudes.

Review by Gary Cordwell

Released on 7 June 2019 by Heavy Psyche Sounds

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Track list:

  1. Man’s Best Friend
  2. Messiah
  3. It’s All Over
  4. Witching Hour
  5. Fistful Of Pills
  6. Tomorrow Never Comes
  7. Gates Of Eden
  8. Let’s Get Lost
  9. The Cry Of A Tortured World