By: Eric G.
Pele's jazzy, instrumental rock is perfectly adequate yet wholly unnecessary. There are just too many similarly motivated bands that aren't making any strides. I guess the same could be said of any number of genres and micro-genres, but the light jazz-rock instrumental bin is especially inundated lately. That said, The Nudes really isn't too bad. Pele clearly has its formula down pat: staccato guitar rhythms, noodling arpeggios, shuffling percussion, and slithering bass lines permeate every single song, making it hard to distinguish any one track, but, again, there's nothing new here to demand that you own this record.
Instrumental music is, by nature, shamelessly indulgent and with the barrage of high-profile instrumental releases this year (Dianogah, The Mercury Program) it becomes increasingly difficult to delineate between them. Pele just barely scratches the surface of what a band like The Sea And Cake does with its jazzy pop and reflective vocal stylings. Without vocals, though, Pele has to be that much more entertaining musically. The problem is that most instrumental bands replace vocal melody with over-complicated wanking. Pele, however, does a respectable job of avoiding gratuitous self-indulgence with its gray tones and meticulous guitar pluckings but never really fills the void left by the absence of vocals..
Thankfully, Pele remains upbeat throughout its meandering musical sketches, which are expertly played but only mildly intriguing at best. If you're bobbing your head you can't be that bored, can you? Well, yes, but bored or not the drummer makes it extremely difficult to sit idly by as he accents four times as many notes as the guitarist does. The excess syncopation becomes grating at times as does the repetitive guitar interplay, but there is an inexplicably warm and familiar feeling throughout The Nudes that keeps you from turning it off. Although, I suspect you'd be hard-pressed ever to turn it back on.