The last time this group manifested itself, they demonstrated a quality that was just so dazzling and mind blowing. I witnessed their power first hand live years ago, along with their personal charm working backstage in Seattle. So the bar was way, way up there. And getting clues that they were returning, I was very eager to hear, and slightly uneasy. The landscape of electronic music feels very different this time around, and I was curious to see how they’d stamp their name in album two.
After a first listen around the release date of Between II Worlds this past September, and several over the next few months, the album resonated with me more and more. At first, it didn’t seem to hold the same cohesion as their debut, Welcome Reality. I enjoyed pieces, but as a whole I wasn’t fully satisfied. This perspective has changed, as I’ve changed. There is still a distinct, “Nero” vibe.
This theme of some sort of relationship having issues was given a whole new context the other day, playing the film Man of Steel on mute while letting this new full length play through. Watching the new born Kal-El sent off Krypton by his parents, just before the planet self-destructed was moving on a whole other level, soundtracked by those first few tracks, such as “Circles” and “It Comes And It Goes”.
This time around, they sound more band like. The production style feels less monstrous, still vast, with moments of a kind of old-school flair. One thing that remains throughout both albums is such incredible emotional strength. If you’re having intense, unsettling and/or chaotic experiences in your life, Nero really “goes there”, riding waves of feeling with a whole lot of spunk. They are still securely holding their own space, and I welcome artists challenging it all with their ventures down these varying locations in time and space.
Their 2015 Essential Mix, (round two for them on this legendary UK based series, with Pete Tong) was also one I warmed up to. I mean, what DO you do after crafting a mix like they debuted on Radio 1 in 2010?? I would boldy state it’s one of the best mixes ever constructed on Earth. But hey, they won me over once again. Huge cheers to Dan Stephens, Joe Ray and Alana Watson!! Thanks for stickin’ around, we love ya’ll.
Photo credits respectively, @jameshawkridge, Legendary, @vtlmedia
– Jimi Jaxon