Nebula To The Center

When Nebula's Eddie Glass and Ruben Romano bid acrimonious adieu to Fu Manchu several years ago, most stoner rock fans assumed they would assemble a crappy replica of their former band and/or fade out of music altogether. But Glass and Romano had other plans. It was always clear that Glass was a gifted guitarist; he wisely went with this focus and transformed himself into a veritable guitar god almost overnight in an era wherein the slightest six-string noodling is waved off the road, considered indulgent. Romano set about honing his skills as a percussionist and called forth the considerable self-discipline required to learn the sitar. Their early efforts paid off in a small, but rewarding way on Let It Burn — a well-executed, yet unrefined collection of brainless, badly-sung jamming. Two years later, we've got the Jack Endino-produced To The Center, and all of a sudden this band seems not only up front and centre, but leagues ahead of their still cool former bandmates. This album accentuates groove and fluidity — the crux of their live shows — rather than empty bouncy riffs. Glass is still limited as a vocalist, but his glorious guitar lines fill in where his voice falls short. You don't even notice the stupid lyrics or phrasingNebula always was more of a psychedelic blues band, anyhow, and textured fuzz and distortion swirl all over tracks like "Freedom," "Antigone" and the sitar-tinged "Fields of Psilocybin." (Sub Pop)