by Lydia Pudzianowski (@DoritosHangover)
David Nance’s last album, 2017’s excellent Negative Boogie, showcased his familiarity with and expertise in a variety of genres, opening with the Birthday Party-esque “More Than Enough (Reprise),” of all things. The man is a chameleon, but he doesn’t just mimic. He inhabits fully. Any of his songs sounds as though it could be pulled from the era that influenced it, and sometimes that’s not even easily identified. His mastery of what seems like popular music’s entire catalog, back and front, is a common factor in all of his work, and he flexes his muscles again on Peaced and Slightly Pulverized, his third album in as many years. This time, though, the result is a little closer to 1970s Americana, and he’s added “Group” to his name, acknowledging the musicians he’s been playing live with (all from Omaha, like Nance).
Because Nance is so good at what he does, Peaced feels like a classic Heartland album pulled from your parents’ record collection, worn and frayed and radiating warmth because it’s been well loved and played often. At times, like the opening track “Poison,” it’s fully electric and alive, a force of nature, like a lightning bolt in a sunshower. At others, like the nearly eight-minute “Amethyst,” it’s Neil Young and J Mascis in rocking chairs on a porch watching while the storm peters out and clears for the brilliant, arching rainbow that is “In Her Kingdom,” a stunning ode to making the worst of times beautiful.
These comparisons are easy to make because the music is so evocative. Nance strikes a balance, letting each song take up as much or as little space as it needs to without wearing out its welcome or seeming out of place among the others. As with his other records, the songs on Peaced are headed in the same direction on the same highway, but Nance never stays in one lane at the same speed, and thank god for that. Let him run wild.