Nil Durden - 'Heads Or Tails' (Self Released) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Craggy   
Sunday, 27 June 2010 05:00

1aniluseI was told to never judge a book by its cover. So I endeavour to remember this as Nil Durden looks at me seductively through Marc Almond eyes on the cover of his recent EP 'Heads Or Tails', framed by the shattered glass through which he is peering and painting a sinister image. The cover does, though, illustrate a man that is perhaps trying to offer thought provoking material, and judging by the sticker which reads: "From furious riffs to soulful ballads... Think Jeff Buckley meets the Black Crowes", this certainly seems to be the case.


The opener, 'Findaway', offers crunching grungy riffs and a big ascending chorus, complimented successfully by acoustic guitars. The vocals are distorted and slightly lost for the most part but when they break through they do so with a sharp impassioned edge, at times reminiscent of early Placebo. With this track Durden is, however, much more entrenched in 70s rock. At just over 3 minutes this opening song is a good introduction before things slow down substantially.


'Just To Kiss You Goodnight' is a strong composition that offers more than your average singer/songwriter (a phrase which I've always taken offence to - since when was writing your own songs the exception, not the rule?) tagline, that even Durden gives himself on his Myspace page. Interestingly it offers an American vibe somewhere between Buffalo Tom and later Goo Goo Dolls, being at once the "soulful" ballad and "classic rock" that he wishes to convey.


With his calculated crafting of the American sound, in music and in voice, Durden gives the impression of a man looking for mainstream success outside of his native Italy. Nothing portrays this more than when he steps up the pace slightly with the accomplished 'Nothing Right Lately', a more modern sounding standard borrowing a fair bit from the Zeppelin inspired grunge of Soundgarden or Pearl Jam. 

'Dreams And Dimes' completes the offering in a rather quiet affair that would be a better closer for an album rather than a short EP, and although probably the weakest song here, it carries an endearing Marc Cohn-esque laid back sound. Saying that, however, it does round off what is largely an acoustic driven EP in search of a melodic contentedness. Lyrically thoughtful and musically varied, this 4 track capture of the full album which is surely to come, would sit nicely on the shelf (or i-Player) of people who like their American inspired rock that little bit more accessible.