On their latest 'Nothing' music's biggest geeks prove they've still got something.
Earlier this decade three of the biggest geeks became the most popular kids in music school. Pharrell's production team with Chad Hugo crafted hits for everyone from Jay-Z to Britney Spears while their group with Rob Walker N.E.R.D. hit big with 'Rock Star' proving these guitar loaded, urban stars could make non-genre specific hits. Still after their debut the band were left 'In Search Of' the perfect follow up. 'Fly or Die' and 'Seeing Sounds' where real decent but the band are yet to capitalize on the 'Provider' success of their first project. So the team that crafted 'Nothing', (a massive hit for N.O.R.E) reunite as N.E.R.D. to give everything to 'Nothing', their new album.
It kicks off with 'Party People' an upbeat jam with Atlanta's T.I. which looks set to rule clubs from the ATL to across the world. Pharrell's distorted chants kick the song and dance into rhythm and as the board master looks for more followers playing musical chess with one of raps best. On the lead single 'Hot-N-Fun', Pharrell and N.E.R.D. 'get right' with Canadian, 'Maneater' Nelly Furtado on a cold track that's as cool as they come. Lock up sons and daughters.
The band get 'Stronger' however when they team up with Daft Punk to craft another hip-hop/dance jam. With 'Hypnotize You' N.E.R.D will have listeners in a trance with Pharrell's smooth and cool vocals. Pharrell is no stranger to the dance circuit, tapping hits with David Guetta and the Swedish House Mafia and on this cut Pharrell keeps it on the floor. You can sure cut a rug with this catchy number or even chill at home with in it's laid back tone.
It's not just dance that these 'trakies' experiment with. In searching for that 'out of this world' sound the band fuse rock, dance, rap and R&B and at times they even go further left-almost sounding western-but still they look right. Especially with tracks like 'The Man'. This band are so tailored for the wild west that they may as well wear stetsons and chew straw because even without that trademark cowboy whistle the bands musical redemption is still 'Red Dead'.
Funk fans fear not because these Star Trak's hop back in the spaceship...or even the time machine for 'I Wanna Jam'. A pure foot tapping, floor filling, sing along number. Even with chants like "I came to sweat" this song is disgustingly catchy. They travel to even funkier planet plains with 'Nothing On You' which has nothing to do with Bruno Mars. This B.O.B, title sharing cut is N.E.R.D.'s own unique making and it's distinctly good too. The nice, potential next single 'I've Seen A Light' also shows that the band are looking even higher for inspiration.
Speaking of which N.E.R.D are still looking for a classic sound like their debut. Still, however like their last two LP's this album proves even further that this band have a diverse, ever far reaching sound. On 'Nothing' Pharrell and co prove they can do anything. Now it's time fo them to show us everything. TIM DAVID HARVEY.