Nassau Machines to Paradise

Nassau Machines to Paradise
Photo: Catherine Stockhausen
There’s something about drummers. They spend all their time behind those kits, surrounded by repeating thumps and cymbal crashes. That’s liable to tweak the mind, and indeed, in bands fronted by drummers, like Dinosaur Jr, there seems to be at least one primal, body-shaking moment that flows throughout their songwriting. Former Guided By Voices drummer Jon McCann has made the switch to singer/guitarist and the rumbling intensity throughout this band’s second album shows he still hasn’t shaken out the cobwebs of his former position. But, that’s definitely a good thing as the incredible power of the overtly dark opener "Pounding in the Cave” is shown through the lapping guitar chords, rousing chorus and, of course, those dominant booming drums. This formula may be repeated a little too often, but it has the great effect of creating an effective tension that keeps the listener from ever getting too comfortable. Standout track "The Perfect Place” takes a different tack by actually lightening the mood with an ambient sample leading into a grand explosion of horns and guitar that prove that Nassau are definitely at the top of their worthy game. Tight, dark and loud in all the right places, one can’t go too wrong with this great sophomore effort.

What’s the inspiration behind "The Perfect Place”? McCann: Chris [McCann] came up with that loop at the beginning of the song before the band kick in and that loop inspired the song. It just felt very alive and life affirming to me, which in turn inspired the positive lyrics. I’m not opposed to using brass or strings or any other instrumentation, but if a song feels like it needs something different I think you should go for it and not worry about whether or not you’re able to reproduce it live. That to me is the beauty of the studio.

How important is cover art to the band? I always like artwork that compliments and can even help explain the music within the sleeve. To me it should go hand in hand. I had this image of the forest background that I really liked, as nature and landscapes are an ongoing theme throughout the record. The image, however, on its own didn’t represent the sound of the record, so I gave the image of the forest to our friend Josh [Reichmann] and asked him if he could do something playful and psychedelic over the forest, something that looked really superimposed. I think in the end, the artwork does fit with the music nicely. (Outside)