Nebula: BBC/Peel Sessions CD review (Shockhound)

(3 out of 5)

Jimi Hendrix playfully kicked off one of his Radio One sessions with a number entitled, appropriately enough, “Radio One.” Nebula kicks off this collection of three BBC Radio sessions with “Radio 1/Clearlight,” a heavy-lidded, circular riff that, though not exactly playful, sets the stage for a clutch of performances that are considerably looser and lighter than the stoner-rock band’s reputation. Of course, Nebula has always been more on the rock end of the stoner-rock equation, but by stripping away much (okay, all) of the already minimal production gloss of their studio albums, these sessions bristle with a nearly-live electricity that do the band’s hard-charging sound considerable justice. Spanning a three-year period (with three different lineups), BBC/PEEL SESSIONS doesn’t skimp on material from the band’s superlative ATOMIC RITUAL album, but it’s nice to hear a cut like TO THE CENTER’s “Freedom” stripped of it’s album sludge. The crisp production on all of these cuts may not please hardcore psych/stoner fans, but by amping up the rock energy inherent in these songs, Nebula’s songwriting strengths come to the fore.

First appeared Jan. 15, 2009 at Shockhound.com.

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