David Nance, Omaha veteran of warble and hiss, returns with Negative Boogie, his new concoction of chug, throb and greasy swagger. For Boogie, Nance trades in his beaten up Tascam 488 for the bullet-proof, glass walls of A.R.C. Studios. Where else can you brew the negative boogie? And what exactly is the negative boogie? Well, it's a bit like Canned Heat but with Pere Ubu's queasy rhythms and someone playing five finger fillet with Swell Maps.
Ensconced in his ivory tower and soundproof rooms, Nance reached for unlikely weapons to tear down his own lofty experiment. He had his pick of rare guitars, cowbells, steel drums, vintage amps, Crazy Horse microphones, mellotron, and the restless but indefatigable rhythm section of Kevin Donahue and Tom May. They started at sunrise and recorded 15 songs by midnight. Maybe it's his Midwestern work ethic, maybe he's a sonic cheapskate.
Maybe it's just the sound of negative boogie. True to habit, Nance built on scraps and scrapes as his starting point. “Some songs were unused for half a decade, some songs were changed the day before recording and some songs were recycled and reinterpreted from the last album leftovers," he says. And yet, bits and pieces, false starts and vicious jams, all came together like the cover art collage suggests, to make something he's never done before - a rock epic. These songs stab and flow into one other like a perfectly orchestrated classic.
The songs are drenched with Nance’s most biting and comic lyrics to date, peaking on “D.L.A.T.U.M.F. Blues" (Don't Look At This Ugly Mother Fucker Blues). And ripping through the entire thing is the cracked power he yanks out of the guitar, a veritable The Good, The Bad and the Ugly of riffage. This is a departure for Nance. It's bigger and grander but it's far from easy music. It's his Plastic Ono Band, his For Your Pleasure, his fever dream of Rocket from the Tombs. Shredders sit with jangling rockers, manic energy spills into depressive torpor, providing the ultimate record experience: one of power, nuance and emotion. But this of course is only a press release, written by a team of robots using words programmed to seduce you. You knew that, right? Did it work? Whether you are nodding yes or shaking no, it's safe to say that we are all dancing the negative boogie.