Admittedly I haven’t given a great deal of thought to the Russian alternative music scene. The “Godfathers” of this scene are undoubtedly Blast, with Nash Albert a member from 1996-2013. But just as the band were releasing their most successful album to date, the Georgian born singer-songwriter decided to focus on his solo career, and the result is his debut album Rude Beggar.
Rude Beggar is a celebration of Albert’s musical influences. There are touches of all the rock superheroes in there, from Bowie to Springsteen, serving as a tribute to the music he grew up with. Nash Albert is at his best when he harnesses these influences and channels them into his own tracks. Opening and title track Rude Beggar is a great example, sounding like something straight off a Midnight Oil or Skyhooks record, with funky electric guitars features and interesting vocal phrasing. City Is Burning works for the same reasons, embracing the freaky and weird quality in Albert’s vocal in the verses and opening into a big chorus.
Into Your Ocean channels a more Californian surf-culture sound, while the laid back confidence is followed through in the Hoodoo Gurus sounding When I’m Not Around.
Where Albert kind of misses the mark is in the more quiet moments, the acoustic, stripped back tracks that should pull at the heart strings or at least invoke somewhat of an emotional reaction. Smile is cutesy and pleasant, while Simple (featuring Ian MC Nabb) is perhaps a little too big for it’s boots.
The nine song track listing is easy to listen to without reaching for the skip button, and overall an enjoyable experience. The only thing it’s missing is some originality. The sound is so similar to that of old, that any time I am in need of a quirky rock hit I am always going to reach for my Bowie, Midnight Oil or Hoodoo Guru records. That’s what Nash Albert is up against if he wants to be pushing forward with this sound, a sound that is definitely working for him and deserves a revival, but it needs to be reinvented to be a smash hit, rather than recycled.