Rebekah Chislett and Josh Royce the duo behind the New South Wales experimental rock band Nancy Mars has been playing together for over ten years now. However their latest record Pieces of Eight is also their first record. This of course begs the question, why has it taken them so long to release a first record? Now I’m no Sherlock Holmes but after listening to Pieces of Eight I can muster a guess that perhaps they were working on getting their songs to the point that they were good enough to stand behind.
It seems today more than ever before there has been a lot of talk about the youth of America, as they were once known, who are today referred to as “millennials.” It is a word that has crept into our lexicon, and much like the word “foodie” makes me cringe without fail every single time I have the unfortunate chance to see it written or hear it spoken aloud. It seems technology has warped our minds into thinking that everything must come quickly; our food, our television shows, our packages, our webpages, etc. And surely there has always been and always will be prolific artists, though art as a whole, at its best takes time.
This taking of time has definitely paid off for Nancy Mars. In this way Pieces of Eight touches on multiple genres. The short yet catchy instrumental opener “A Small Piece” has at its core a bit of blues tinged psychedelia which continues with a bit of post-punk angst on its successor “Magnification.”
“This City (Screaming of the Sane)” pits clean guitar against an experimental filthy riff with samples of breaking waves and then builds into a storm of jazzy riffs over which Rebekah Chislett lends a Goth choirgirl snarl that one can’t help but love.
Next on “Sounds That!” I got a feeling of mid ‘80s era Cure with its gothic vibe mixed with leering electric guitar but plenty of pop sensibility to keep it relevant. Then comes “Stuck in a Star” a lurid gloom-rock jam that rings wonderfully of Sonic Youth, and continues to ring on “The Letters are Strange.” The pair changes it up a bit for the last two tracks getting into the near reggae-punk territory that The Clash and The Police dabbled nicely in and they pull it off seamlessly.
Making great art is a tedious process, and many people who call themselves “artists” will never understand. But Rebekah Chislett and Josh Royce have, in the decade or so they’ve been making music, discovered the fruits of their hard earned labor with Pieces of Eight. These songs are hard won, forged and re-forged. Pieces of Eight is a testament to the patience of the artists’ craft. It deserves proper attention.
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