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Beaver Nelson

Undisturbed – 2001 (Black Dog)

Reviewed by Stuart Munro

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CDs by Beaver Nelson

"I'm just philosophizing up front with a killer band backing me up," says Beaver Nelson, and if his lyrics at times share at least the opacity-cum-impenetrability of the philosopher, their literate, compact, often-bruised and weary character compels nonetheless. This time 'round, Nelson seems preoccupied with the past and its various effects on the present - witness the wistful look back of "Eleven Again," for example, the claims of "Trash Like This" about the self-determinations made by past actions and the assertion that we nonetheless control not where we've been, but where we go ("When We Were Friends").

There's a bit less variation in sound here compared to his previous release; his crackerjack band, led again by the scorching guitar of Scrappy Jud Newcomb, kicks out on "Eleven Again," finds an irresistable groove on "God's Tears" and issues a brief, intense sonic assault on the minute-long "What Is That To Me," but the slow and melancholic predominates, no more so than on "Experiments In Love," which is stripped down to Nelson's rasping vocals accompanied by a lone acoustic. Throughout, Beaver Nelson continues to make impassioned, gritty, rock-based roots music.