Bill Nelson: Noise Candy

Full Nelson.

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On paper, it’s a dismal idea. Ten years’ worth of studio offcuts, hurled together in one giant, six-disc sprawl and released as a lavish but pricey box set. Frankly, if it had been conceived by anyone other than the insanely prolific Bill Nelson, Noise Candy would probably not have seen the light of day.

And therein lies the surprising beauty of Nelson’s remorseless creative journey – where lesser artists would palm their fans off with any old half-baked tat, the consistent quality of these 121 songs, curios and nimbly crafted sonic shards is breathtaking.

Divided into six nebulous but endearing themes, this glittering glut covers a vast amount of ground, from skittering electronics and woozy psychedelia through to pinpoint-precise pop songs and bursts of fiery, atonal fretwork.

Whether sauntering through some futuristic, Westworld-style ghost town on the echo-drenched Space-Ranch or gently prodding at synapses and heartstrings on the shimmering synth wash of Real Gone, Nelson always sounds thrilled by the studio’s limitless possibilities, but never neglectful of melody’s natural supremacy.

It’s not entirely clear whether anyone will choose to sit through all six discs in one go, but there is much fun to be had piecing more manageable, hypothetical albums together… which may well be what the crafty old sod had in mind all along./o:p

Dom Lawson

Dom Lawson has been writing for Metal Hammer and Prog for over 14 years and is extremely fond of heavy metal, progressive rock, coffee and snooker. He also contributes to The Guardian, Classic Rock, Bravewords and Blabbermouth and has previously written for Kerrang! magazine in the mid-2000s.