Journeyman rocker Nick Bensen still remembers the first unplugged concert he ever saw. The son of 60s hipster parents in New York who kept the house filled with the sounds of now classic rock, they once gave a party at which Lou Reed played an impromptu acoustic set. One can only guess at what Lou was strumming that night but if the approach of blending melodic pop and freakout psychedelia on Nickīs "No Resistance" is any indication, the setlist probably included both "Sunday Morning" and "Sister Ray." No Resistance is the second instalment in what can be defined as Nick Bensenīs "psychedelic" phase. After years of everything from teenage prodigy (he began playing in clubs at the Sextonesque age of 13) and Springsteen parody to punk and Cheap Trick tribute bands, he released his Psychedelic Juggernaut record in April 2000 and hasnīt looked back since. Influenced by a meeting with Nick Saloman of the Bevis Frond, that record set Bensen on a path that led to the creation of No Resistance. With its updated late 60s/early 70 rock styles, modern Beck approved sheen and attention to melody Iīd say music lovers are all the richer for it. On the Fractal Landscape, a Hendrix influenced soundscape, kicks things off the way any psychedelic record should and this quickly leads into the funk-rock freakout of Rockery Lighter. With its mixture of Blind Faith Clapton guitar tones, Beck influenced comic book techno sounds and a Stipe influenced lead vocal this is one of the albumīs more rocking numbers. The lovely early Yes styled title track comes next and will have you planning trips to the Stonehenge summer solstice festival if youīre not careful; beautiful bucolic vibe. Bensen shows his guitar versatility here with nice pedal steel sounding licks blended with sitar supporting a strong lead vocal that recalls Robert Plant in places. Before letting us getting too blissed out things take a sharp left turn into the nuclear guitar attack of the thrashy Great Burst of Clarity - a Donovan record this isnīt. Unrealized Voyage to Hammerfest shows us what Nick learned from all those Zep 8-tracks he was presumably hearing around the house in his youth and the results are truly breathtaking. With an overall symphonic feel and bendy pedal steel sounds it transcends its Page influences into something resembling a classic modern rock instrumental. Would sound nifty in a film too. The whimsical Whereīs Mr. Dave creates just the right mood change and then itīs time for some serious getting down in Fall. Currently based in that onetime capital of psychedelia San Francisco, Bensen here pays homage to a far off time when Microsoft might have been the name of a new acid rock band at the Avalon Ballroom. The moody Pine City comes next and Nick again shows his mastery in creating textures that suit his songs. The lyrics intone that "youīve gotta go to Pine City" but the music tells us the voyage may not be a happy one. Tasteful guitar work with interesting percussion and lounge-sounding instruments make this one serious mood piece and yet the best is still yet to come. Donīt Freak Out will have you doing just that, it is one very cool piece of music. Lead vocal somewhere between Plant and Roger McGuinn, heaviest guitar sustain this side of Sam Andrews and the most heart tugging chorus youīre likely to hear this year; itīs great song. The REM influenced ?And the Time is Right closes the record and serves as a nice fadeout after the heights of Donīt Freak Out. Nick provides good keyboard here and throughout the record. As for the bonus tracks, The Orange Sky is a gorgeous bluesy instrumental with heavy organ that wouldnīt have sounded out of place on the record itself; Frobisher Awakening is a heavy near parody-sounding number that echoes Pink Floyd while Icebound Wilderness takes us back to Electric Ladyland - say about "1983" or so?..recommended for those long drives in the desert. No Resistance is proof that Nick Bensen (who plays all the instruments on the record) is an artist with a lot to say and a unique way of saying it. Currently working towards putting together a power trio to present his heavy sound live, it will be interesting to see if he works up a future album in a band setting. In the meantime, however, thereīs plenty of time to check out this vision of past, present and future compliments of Nick Bensen. Non-Resistible
Fantastic Acid-Psych Album. This guy has the best references. In his younger years he learned to play the guitar from Ira Kaplan (Yo La Tengo). Later in the 80īs he jams through all the real cool scenes of the east coast (Hüsker Dü, Dinosaur Jr., Feelies). Finally found the roots in the middlewest. Driven from the moneyneed he quits for a middleclass-job in the californian advertisement industry. How sad. But then at a Terrastock Festival he meet Nick Saloman and Ade Shaw (Bevis Frond) and changed again to the music.
Sawing guitars, spherical Keyboards, driving grooves, some singing. The next Pill is calling.