(Liquor and Poker)

01. Orbit
02. Loose Cannon
03. Fever Frey
04. Lighbringer
05. Future Days
06. Ghost Ride
07. The Alchemist
08. Trapezium Procession
09. Controlled
10. The Eagle Has Landed
11. Fruit of My Soul
12. Decadent Garden
13. Wired
14. Opiate Float > Orbit

RATING: 7/10

When they split off from FU MANCHU to form NEBULA, Eddie Glass and Ruben Romano formed the third leg of the archetypal stoner rock triad on which about nine thousand other bands balance themselves. Between them, FU and KYUSS — three bands whose total lifetime sales figures could be a rounding error in QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE's SoundScans — the blueprint has been laid for modern-day underground riff rock, for better and for worse.

But if you're looking for a bong-rattling stoner fix with plenty of loose, limber groove and a few pleasant left turns, why not go to the source? NEBULA has plenty of fuzz guitar, those slack-ass don't-give-a-shit vocals, and easy, greasy grooves to go around. What they lack in distinct, hooky individual songs, they make up for in sheer volume of denim-and-bongwater attitude, an agreeable forty-minute blosh of spaced-out stoner psychedelia, the occasional bit of cosmic noodling, and plenty of foot-to-the-floor raveups.

"Fever Frey" captures a bit of that Seattle proto-grunge-punk (think MUDHONEY) while "Future Days" boasts a little bit of slinky swing in the rhythm, somewhere between skate punk and cock rock. "Ghost Ride" may start off sounding like it's ripping off the old MTV jingle riff, but it's a simple, top-down summertime riff rocker, while the short 'n' sweet "Controlled" adds a little of that sweat-and-spit Detroit old-school vibe, and "Opiate Float > Orbit" closes the album on a trippy, psychedelic note.

All in all, the whole ride feels pretty familiar, NEBULA obviously not interested in fixing what ain't broken. If you're one of those stoner types who makes shelf room for the dozens of bands that suck up these guys' exhaust, good on ya — just make sure you're paying respect to the leaders of the pack while you're at it.


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