Nadja
When I See The Sun Always Shines on TV


2.0
poor

Review

by Cam EMERITUS
April 28th, 2009 | 28 replies | 10,401 views


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: For the first time, Nadja disappoints.

Ah, the virtues of a cover album. Of which, of course, there are really none. There are really only a few reasons a band would make a cover album, and I’ve narrowed these down to a plausible two:

A) To make money.

B) To diverge from the monotony and whatnot of always having to come up with new ideas by making a throwaway cover album, mostly for kicks.

Obviously, since I doubt Aidan Baker and Leah Buckareff make a whole lot considering the music they create, When I See The Sun Always Shines on TV would have to belong in the second category, even though it’s hard to imagine a Nadja record done “mostly for kicks”. However, TV is the kind of record that’s so implausible---if you’ve ever heard a Nadja record, you’ll agree with me that they’re not the most apt band to start going and covering shit---that it seems less of a throwaway and becomes almost interesting, sort of like watching a car wreck. Hell, I was even considering the scant possibility that this might even be good.

This Canadian duo unsurprisingly makes no effort to switch up their game in lieu of a weird cover selection---which includes choice cuts from a-ha, Elliott Smith, and Slayer---as TV is, musically, the same kind of thing Nadja’s always done. To those new to the whole Nadja experience, this duo’s renown for creating droning, noisy doom metal with disparate electronica influences, and is characterized by lengthy enveloping pieces, vocalist Aidan Baker’s ghostly vocals, and ridiculous amounts of cacophonous noise. Nadja’s managed to build a sizeable reputation as one of the best experimental metal bands out there, and this is a reputation that’s assured every time the duo puts out a new album, which is every five months or so: the band’s very prolific. Your average Nadja record is frightening and beautiful, noisy yet serene. It’s great stuff.

TV doesn’t find Nadja drastically changing their sound, but, as I noted previously, there’s still that odd chance that TV could be an interesting listen, if just to hear how such a band morphs indie and synth-pop into their own twisted stylings. The results are decidedly mixed. There’s only one real accomplishment, only one cover that completely triumphs, and that’s the excellent cover of Slayer’s “Dead Skin Mask”, morphing a five-minute thrasher into a doom-y dirge, one that’s heavier than anything Nadja’s ever done previously. The sloth-speed tempo and pounding, all-encompassing instrumentation is oddly reminiscent of funeral doom, which is proof that covers in no way have to sound anything like the original. On the flip side is “The Sun Always Shines on TV” (the A-ha cover). Baker’s own arrangement here simply smothers the original’s catchy melodies, burying them under waves of eardrum-crushing feedback without losing any pop charm; resulting in what’s probably the only Nadja song to date that could legitimately be considered as ‘catchy’.

Despite some songs working quite well, the majority simply just doesn’t hold up. For one, TV is too long, lasting an hour and containing eight tracks (a hefty load by Nadja standards). Considering there’s no epic crescendos or constantly evolving twenty-minute pieces---just Nadja plodding hit-or-miss through eight covers---this hour is a chore get through. Also, some covers just aren’t up to snuff. A cover of Elliott Smith’s excellent “Needle in the Hay” is particularly embarrassing; transforming the song into a crushingly layered death-march, plodding along on a simplistic drumbeat so incessantly that it becomes annoying. Plus, it’s just weird to hear Smith’s deeply felt and emotionally bare lyrics be placed over something so monolithic. It’s not the type of song that works in expanded perimeters; it’s not an epic. It doesn’t jive with Nadja’s sound.

Other letdowns include a cover of My Bloody Valentine’s “Only Shallow”, as Baker paints that track’s lovable pink fuzz an ugly black, and thus loses all the charm. There’s also a twelve-minute cover of the Cure’s “Faith”, which is both a success and a failure: a success in that it strengthens that band’s whole insipid crybaby act into something deeper, but a failure in that it gets pretty damn boring around the eight-minute mark, becoming meandering and losing focus, sputtering out. It’s probably the worst imaginable way to end such an album.

But what hurts TV most of all, after all those other negatives that I’ve previously referred to, is how homogenous this sounds. Almost every song is terribly alike---each featuring the same hallmarks Nadja’s become known for, besides their most important aspect, being their relentless creativity---and this bland similarity becomes taxing. As an avid fan, it’s disappointing to witness one of my favorite bands finally release something that’s bad.

Ultimately, it’s not really all that big of a shame that this album’s such a disappointment. It’s not even a complete disappointment either: there are a few good tracks here; a few moments that are as moving as anything Nadja has ever recorded. But it’s not like I or anyone else had high expectations for this, besides this maybe being satisfying as a novelty; it’s not like a cover album by Nadja is even a remotely good idea. TV simply just confirms this.



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user ratings (23)
Chart.
2.9
good

Comments:Add a Comment 
joshuatree
Emeritus
April 28th 2009



3743 Comments


is really a 2-2.25 but up'd it cause band's a favorite
disappointing that this sucked though
also new review layouts look awful
This Message Edited On 04.28.09

Essence
April 28th 2009



3577 Comments


I didn't have very high hopes for this, and the rating does not surprise me.

Doppelganger
April 28th 2009



3124 Comments


sweet i'll probably like this

CrazyFool84
April 28th 2009



1080 Comments


maybe I'll give this a spin just out of my sick sense of curiosity...and I totally agree about the review layout, not growing on me.

gaslightanthem
April 28th 2009



5209 Comments


i liked this screw you cam wilson

marksellsuswallets
April 28th 2009



4848 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I thought this was fairly good. It's not that disappointing, but then again my expectations for cover albums are always pretty low.This Message Edited On 04.28.09

McP3000
April 28th 2009



3941 Comments


everyone has their lows

Tits McGee
April 28th 2009



1876 Comments


also new review layouts look awful


idk, I kind of like it

Nice review Cam. I'm curious to hear their version of Needle In The Hay



Mendigo
April 28th 2009



2299 Comments


ah, a pity if it's really that avarage. I'll still check it out though, the tracklist looks so intriguingly awkward ^^

NortherlyNanook
April 28th 2009



1285 Comments


i love nadja, but this sounds like a big shame. i dunno if i'll bother with it.

gaslightanthem
April 28th 2009



5209 Comments


eeurgh i knew i should have reviewed this positively :[

joshuatree
Emeritus
April 28th 2009



3743 Comments


you'd be feeding the people lies

gaslightanthem
April 28th 2009



5209 Comments


i don't lie only sometimes

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
April 28th 2009



17920 Comments


powerful avatar

fireaboveicebelow
April 28th 2009



6837 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

worth listening to

BallsToTheWall
April 28th 2009



44164 Comments


Want this pronto.

gaslightanthem
April 28th 2009



5209 Comments


get eet

Skyler
April 29th 2009



1084 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

just realized that this is a cover album. interesting. only shallow by my bloody valentine. also interesting.

Helllord
April 29th 2009



5 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

It's definitely not so bad. I like this album, not quite like "Radiance" but still...

easylee
April 30th 2009



80 Comments


nadja disappointing? Naaahhhhhhhhhh their 214 albums of rehashed dronedoombience are way interesting brah ,mfuck u



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