Nymph – Geek Pop Star
Made Records (3/27/07)
By the looks of the album cover, one would be led to believe that Nymph is the stage name of singer Shari Moreno, and with the prior knowledge that this is of the electronic persuasion combined with a “PARENTAL ADVISORY” icon, I was really worried that this would be some sort of terrible Peaches knockoff. Peaches herself is terrible enough, but wanting to be a knockoff of something that sucks is just incomprehensible to me. In actuality, Nymph is the name of a four-piece outfit out of New York, complete with guitar, bass and even congas to go with the computer elements. Also, in actuality, the album is not bad at all.
“Betterfly” combines breakbeat with… you know, it really doesn’t matter, because breakbeat almost always works with everything. If you were to integrate quality (keyword there is “quality”) breakbeat into the new album by any shitty pop-punk band, I might actually pretend to care. “Little Pig” is an angry little pop diddy that incorporates some dull basslines that I haven’t heard since the days of ’90s speed garage. I don’t much like speed garage, but I’ll allow it.
Tracks like “If She Only Knew” and “Exit” bring down the tempo nicely and would work well in any of the 350 chillout compilations that will be released this year. One of the better ones, though. “Just a Dream?” is in the same vein, though it incorporates some slick Thievery Corporation-type dub. “Honky Tonk Girl” takes the dub and incorporates some ’70s-style soul as well. Interesting.
“People” has jazz undertones, and if they had Nick Cave doing vocals it would be the shit (just like if Bobby Womack did the vocals on “Honky Tonk Girl”, it would be the shit, though there’d have to be some lyric changes there). At some points Moreno shows a bit of promise by flexing her vocal muscles and hits some impressive notes, while at other times she flirts with bubblegum vocals. The trip-hoppy “Stepped” actually doubles as a good jazz fusion track as well.
Speaking of Moreno’s voice, it finds its role amid the well-produced breakbeat/electro music, as it’s not quite strong enough to be able to flourish on its own. One name that comes to mind that one can liken this situation to is Lorna Harris, who found a her voice through Goldie’s Timeless but would have probably made an absolute crap album if she had to depend solely on her vocals. Ditto, but to a lesser extent, for Leonie Laws. That’s not to say that the music is anywhere close to Timeless or even Ultra-Obscene, because it’s not, but if the group had a vocalist with a bit more gravitas, this album would be one of the best of the year.
The press package liked this group to BjÃ¶rk and Gwen Stefani, though it’s actually better than what both of those are currently doing. BjÃ¶rk decided to start making music so minimal that it would make even Steve Roden fall asleep, and Gwen Stefani is just useless and shouldn’t even be mentioned anywhere close to this album. That does Nymph no justice. This is more like a more adventurous Breakbeat Era. It didn’t turn me on my ear like Breakbeat Era did, but it’s closer than either of the aforementioned. They need to get a higher-quality album cover, because what they currently have looks like some sort of high-school J-Pop band’s album cover. If anyone from the band is reading this, contact me for a good album cover at a decent price.