There’s been a lot of excited talk on the fuzz and buzz grapevine about the latest album from prolific drone/shoegaze metal two-piece Nadja. Joining the core duo of Aidan Baker and Leah Buckareff on Dagdrøm is Jesus Lizard drummer Mac McNeilly, and speculation has been rife that Nadja has decided to take a bold new tack and start rockin’ instead of rollin’.
That’s somewhat accurate. Dagdrøm is certainly more frenetic and animated than anything Nadja has produced in the recent past. It’s less saturated in swampy noise (to a degree), although repetition is still the band’s mainstay—heaving riffs overlay heaving riffs in a familiar dirge-like lattice. Still, Dagdrøm sounds positively energetic in parts, with McNeilly’s drumming providing more power and impetus in the engine house, propelling Dagdrøm‘s four lengthy drones forward at a heftier pace. New territory is also explored. The bass has more upfront presence, a post-punk throb underscores “Space Time and Absence” and “One Sense Alone”, and Nadja utilize icier, less clotted riffing to part the clouds or lift the haze, on occasion.
Dagdrøm is definitely Nadja’s most luminescent album, but it’s not a radical change in direction. Much of it is par for the droning and sludgy course, which is not a bad thing, but those moments of clarity offer a more vivid appreciation of the underlying structure of Nadja’s arrangements. Here’s to further sonic adventuring.