Granted, the idea of what “makes an album” is as liquid as it’s ever been. Nonetheless, it would be a pretty bold step to feature nothing but build-ups (with no accompanying climaxes) across the first five tracks of your LP. But Nice Nice, a kind of Battles-heavy mind-melt post-rock electronica group from Portland, Oregon, have done pretty much that. Depending on your neurochemical state when you encounter this sequence of tracks, you’ll experience either heart-pumping suspense or simply fatigue – more often than not the latter. The back half of ‘Extra Wow’, however, is brilliantly solid, veering from thin-eyed motorik propulsion (‘A Vibration’, ‘Make It Gold’) to zero gravity Afro-dub, full of distant mantras and booming percussion (‘Big Bounce’, ‘A Little Love’). Finely textured drones are thrown in as palette cleansers, and the result is as exhilarating as it is hypnotic. No one said that great music can’t be confusing, but while about half of ‘Extra Wow’ is just that, and often gloriously so, the other half just sounds frustratingly confused.

By Sam Walton

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