Back in April, Charlie Abbott released an album entitled Nirvana that has unceremoniously flown under my radar until just a few days ago. It’d be difficult to discuss this album without lightly touching on the title. While “nirvana” (lowercase) has its own meaning, it’s impossible not to see the word and not immediately conjure thoughts of Cobain and crew. Not surprisingly, there’s a good deal of that influence at play here – particular some of the earlier, messier style can be heard seeping through in “I’m Dead” – but it’s never a direct nod or exhausting play on style, it’s just the state of the world where Nirvana was a popular band twenty-five years ago.
But enough about that. The title has very little to do with the record but it must be mentioned just to get it out of the way. Overall, the album is a solid offering of strong rock songs with no gimmicks. That’s a tough sell these days as there’s a limitless grab bag that it could pull from. But there’s no vocal style to adjust to, there’s no secret metal influence underlying the riffs or, really, any pretense whatsoever (not there’s anything wrong with any of those other things).
That’s not to say there isn’t a unique voice at work here. The songs are big, emphatic and filled with flourishes that take it from being just Riff Rock to being something altogether special. There’s even an eight-minute instrumental smack in the middle of the album that takes a deep dive into some post-rock Quiet/Loud explosions.
It’s hard to be memorable in the world of Rock Music these days but Nirvana is an album that rewards on additional listens. It’s not breaking the mold but it’s an exemplary offering of how the style should be done.