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Nadja - Luminous Rot (Southern Lord)

27 May 2021

Prolific Canadian duo Nadja clearly has a mission: find the midpoint between abrasive noise and shimmering beauty, and mine it for all its worth. On the band’s latest album Luminous Rot (released via Southern Lord, whose affection for weirdo metal makes it a perfect partner), multi-instrumentalist Aidan Baker and bassist Leah Buckareff eagerly but gracefully take bits of shoegaze, noise rock, ambient electronics, doom metal and early nineties post-punk and mix them into a thick, plangent hellbrew that somehow manages to be both luscious and noxious.

The lengthy “Cuts On Your Hands” emits wave after wave of metallic fuzz that flows over a fine line between melodic and dissonant, with Baker’s gothic croon buried under layers of distortion, feedback and low-end throb. The industrial pound of “Starres” indicates a familiarity with bands like Swans, even as the searing feedback guitar slathered across the repetitive rhythm evokes Miles Davis’ early seventies period. “Fruiting Bodies” filters its doomy riffs through a disorienting swirl of voices and electronics for a waking dream that evolves into a nightmare. Essentially, Nadja wants to give you comfort, then stab you in the back, then salve your wound, then mash a pillow on your face, and so on. Luminous Rot invites you to a love/hate relationship that you’ll never want to leave.