Sounding clever and naïve at the same time is no easy task, and it says a lot for San Franciscan trio Nodzzz that they're able to play both cards so well on their second album, Innings. Armed with two guitars and a drum kit, Nodzzz aim for simplicity in both songwriting and performance, but they have an impressive knack for generating sharp, irresistible melodies despite their minimal instrumental approach, and they fold no small amount of wit and smarts into their lyrics, especially the comic but self-analytical "Fear of Advice," the jaded "Love Is Code," and the lean and punky "Troubled Times." While Innings doesn't exactly sound polished, the production is noticeably cleaner and better detailed than the group's first album, and if this music lacks some of the physical impact of the debut, the interplay between guitarists Anthony Atlas and Sean Paul Presley has developed a greater sophistication, while drummer Brian Girgus is steadier and more confident. At its best, Innings sounds like the work of a new millennium version of Beat Happening, both in Nodzzz's deliberate awkwardness and their gift for constructing memorable tunes from simple materials (though "Old Clothes" borrows more from "So You Want to Be a Rock ‘n' Roll Star" than might be advisable). And for a band whose members sound like rank amateurs most of the time, "Time (What's It Going to Do?)" is a beautifully crafted, near-perfect slice of edgy pop that would be soaring up the charts in a world where musical merit was the determining factor. Innings proves underground pop is still very much alive, and Nodzzz have made an album that strikes a perfect balance between simplicity and intelligently applied craft; they've made it a whole lot of fun, too.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Mark Deming