Michael Nau

Less Ready to Go

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Still a collaborative effort, and even more bustling than 2018's Michael Nau & the Mighty Thread in terms of arrangements, Less Ready to Go is Michael Nau's fourth album under his own name. Recorded at a studio in Joshua Tree, it was produced by Dr. Dog's Scott McMicken. As for its particularly colorful sound, Nau has explained that each song was recorded live with guests, who would then "switch instruments and do a live overdub on top." Alongside extra touches and sound effects, the results are often wonky and woozy on an album whose otherworldly quality extends to reaching back to the '60 and '70s for R&B, pop, and psychedelic influences. Rather than ever playing like a tribute, these elements seep into Nau's dreamy songs. The opening bent notes of warbling first track "Hoops" transport listeners to the studio turntables of AM radio, with its laid-back groove suggesting an old-school Sunday drive. Self-reflexive lyrics like "Getting used to getting used to the beat/I think about you in every major key" precede a melodic guitar-and-keyboard jam that closes the song. Vintage soul also inflects the up-tempo "Maybe Just Don't," which adds interjecting brass and more-active percussion to its dancing bass line, melodic guitar, and twinkling organ. With recording techniques and processing suggesting movement as much as dream states, the idea of altered states suffuses tracks like "Fade Shade" and the distorted reggae of "Looking Into Dance." The album's ballads and love songs ("2 Powers," "Be Smiling When You Can") aren't exempt from the alluringly strange qualities of Less Ready to Go, which also represents one of the former Cotton Jones and Page France leader's strongest sets of underlying songs.

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