Nutsak are a prime example that judging a book, or CD for that matter, by its cover can leave you with preconceptions that fall short, or in this case slightly too central to left field of the actual content hidden inside. Add the name Nutsak, to the album title Failed Musician, and then factor in the simple yet striking cover art featuring a pretty pissed off looking Gorilla that has clearly just destroyed a perfectly good drum kit and most people if they are anything like me would expect an album full of straight ahead, in your face Punk Rock with a capital ANGRY!!!
In the case of Nutsak only part of the story is told by this initial reaction, yes there's plenty of punk attitude and in places styling, however one listen to "Hidden Charms", "Innuendo Shminnuendo" or "Last Train To Nutsak" will leave you in no doubt that Nutsak are a band with a vision way beyond the three minute quick fix most punk bands knock out.
In truth there are so many styles crammed onto Failed Musician that listing them all wouldn't really do the album justice and would only serve to confuse. It's easier to let the fuzzed up rock of "They Fucked Good Tonight", the almost punk-a-billy cover version of Willie Dixon's "Hidden Charms" or the more accessible "Last Train To Nutsak, NJ" which even though the title may suggest it has more to do with the dance ability of Dead Kennedys jamming with the Ramones than anything containing Davey Jones or Mike Nesmith, just bulldoze over you.
Don't get the impression that Failed Musician is an easy ride, not a bit of it. I'm pretty convinced that Rodgers and Hammerstein didn't envisage the version of "My Favourite Things" that closes the album like an outtake from Miles Davis' Bitches Brew (minus trumpet) when they wrote "The Sound Of Music". In fact the Nazi's might have triumphed in the film if they had!!! Neither will the Tony Bennett like "I Hate Everything" be welcomed into any Las Vegas lounge residency with its anti everything lyrics.
When the amalgam of punk, jazz fusion, be-bop, and blues gels you get a steaming little rocker like "You Are Going To Prison", when it doesn't quite come off you get the eye off the ball meanderings of slower track "Fillet D'Harengs Fumes" which just never locks into the required groove.
With the no compromises attitude displayed across the twelve tracks, seven of which are instrumentals, it would be fair to suggest that at times some of the more introverted instrumental sections do become a little self indulgent and slightly unfocused, however for the main part if you are willing to give the album time to mature in your head, the rewards will pay off and a surprisingly melodic after taste will be left.
Nutsak are another fine addition to the Signed By Force label, although Failed Musician is not an album to be taken lightly or a disc you'll slip into the CD player for some background listening, rather it grabs your attention from start to finish and for the large part leaves you feeling rewarded that you made the effort.
1. Baby Drools Diamonds
3. Hidden Charms
4. May/September Blur Blues
5. They Fucked Good Tonight
7. Innuendo Shminnuendo
8. Filets D'harengis Fumes
9. You Are Going To Prison
10. I Hate Everything
11. Last Train To Nutsak, NJ
12. My Favorite Things