I am awoken by my vibrating phone. It’s 5 am on a Monday, and I’ve received a Tweet. I don’t get a lot of Tweets, since I’m far less social media savvy than I ought to be. My assumption is that it’s from a friend, impelled to fire off some inane message while in the midst of a bender. Instead, it’s from someone named Horselover Fat with the handle @wednesday_club from West Yorkshire, a place I didn’t know existed. At least the time difference explains the early hour. My muzzy brain manages to parse out that the name is a reference to a Philip K. Dick novel.
It turns out that this person had read my review of Robert Pollard’s latest effort, and shot over a link to an album by a band called Nixon, entitled Linus, hoping that I’d give it a listen. Being both a sporting fellow and bored at the office the next day, I popped in my earbuds and let the record accompany my morning coffee. I imagined I’d absently peruse the tracks, reply to “Horselover” with a polite thank you, and then be on with the rest of my day.
It turns out that the album is pretty fucking good.
Jangling guitars jump out over attention deficit order drums; for a moment I’m convinced this is a Swell Maps track I’ve not heard before. Shout-sung vocals blurt out something incomprehensible in a style reminiscent of Mark Smith, and just when I’m hooked, the song ends. At forty-two seconds. As it turns out, the entire album clocks in at about seventeen minutes, despite the twelve songs. The brio reminds me of the punk bands I listened to in my younger days, and explains Mr. Fat’s admiration of Guided by Voices and Pollard.
Linus is quick, dirty, and fun. Elements of Wire and The Clean are present in addition to the other sonic references I’ve mentioned, and a wholehearted embrace of Captain Beefhearty weirdness. My largest criticism is that it’s all over too quickly. “Well this is high concept masturbation,” the trio bleats out on “Finnegan’s Wank,” a self-deprecating homage to hipster pretension. Quirky time signatures abound, tweaking the full steam ahead rock blasts just enough to keep listeners guessing.
My favorite tracks tend toward the longer “Too Aware” and “Testing the Waters,” but the final song “Middle Aged Cherub” serves as a charming clincher to this short-but-sweet endeavor. Evidently inspired by a GBV performance on the John Stewart Show back in 1995, lead singer Jackamore Paradiso (I’m pretty sure his real name is John Perry) was amused by how Pollard appeared to be a “baby faced thirty-something,” seemed drunk, and dared to play the less than popular “The King and Caroline.” Or as he described in our correspondence, “still doing the same shit he was doing in his basement when no one cared.”
If you’ve got twenty minutes to spare, go ahead and give Nixon a listen. Hell, buy their album, since you only have to pay what you want. Plus, their label Cath ‘n’ Dad Records donates all the money to the artists’ favorite charity. Unless, of course you don’t like boisterous, poppy songs that remain accessible despite their art punk influences. In that case, why are you even reading this?
Linus by Nixon is available on Cath ‘n’ Dad Records. Ryan Hickey apologises for not getting this review out sooner, and he hopes they produce more music, soon. Equally, Jamie Coughlan apologises for not posting this sooner.