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Tuesday, July 5th, 2022  

Weird Nightmare

Weird Nightmare

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May 19, 2022 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


METZ vocalist and guitarist Alex Edkins steps out on his own with his debut solo album, the self-titled Weird Nightmare. Barring a few guest appearances from Bully’s Alicia Bognanno (“Wrecked”) and Chad VanGaalen (“Oh No”), Edkins ventures here mainly on his own with drumming provided by Loel Campbell (Wintersleep). With the exception of two very much METZ-like tracks in “Nibs” and “Dream,” the latter of which even starts with the desperate sound of failed mechanics, Edkins ventures down a more tuneful path. Particularly when compared to METZ’s latest return to more tortuous territory on 2020’s Atlas Vending.

Even when Edkins is singing pleadingly to a lost love, the mod-revival inspired giddiness of “Lusitania” is hard to resist. If the earliest albums of The Jam were aided by the tailwinds of 40+ years of recording technology something like the hard sparkle of “Lusitania” may have emerged. Also pulling from more primeval times, the opening track, “Searching for You,” and later appearing “Sunday Driver” poke at the earliest days of punk, when melody was not yet fully sacrificed to angst. Edkins’ frustrated screams of “I fell asleep behind the wheel,” at the end of “Searching for You,” paint a desperate picture of self-declared failure after taking the listener through a stomping romp of a journey.

Better yet are a pair of layered and scraped at tracks in “Darkroom” and “Oh No” that tilt to the noisier side of losing their grip on a melodic core. These two songs provide the direct passage from what Edkins is exploring on Weird Nightmare to his less buttoned-up work in METZ. Inviting the uninitiated into Weird Nightmare’s more traditional structures could very well be the path to luring the unwary into METZ’s murkier waters. Early hardcore band Hüsker Dü had their own ultimately self-imploding dynamic in Bob Mould’s rage and Grant Hart’s poppier predilections. It’s possible to thread the needle from Hart’s wide-eyed observations to Mould’s molten discontent while keeping everyone on board. Edkins shows us how it can be done as a solo artist with a swaggering amount of aplomb. (www.weirdnightmare.bandcamp.com)

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