NERD - In Search Of - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

NERD - In Search Of

by Bob Coyne Rating: Release Date:2002-08-05

"No-one Ever Really Dies" according to hip-hop uber-producers The Neptunes (aka Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo), who have reincarnated themselves (along with singing high school pal, Shay) as N*E*R*D, a crew of buddhist gang-bangers. And if that sounds like a contradiction too hard to reconcile, then you may just be right. In Search Of kicks off with N*E*R*Ds signature tune, "Lapdance", which purports to contain a socially conscious message but works best as a lascivious blast of brainless bump and grind that the group are hard pushed to better. As their moniker suggests, there's something distinctly awkward about these guys. Although more than competent musically, lyrically much of "In Search Of" sounds as if they're trying too hard to be different. To level his karma after "Lapdance", Shay feels compelled to blurt out "I just want your brain" to a prospective partner (on "Brain"). On "Provider", he attempts to soften his street-hustling activities by insisting to his boo that her welfare is his primary concern. The geek humour of the between-song skits falls completely flat. But when all fails they simply return to the tried and true. The insistent bassline of "Lapdance" reprises on "Truth Or Dare", along with stark dramatic strings and a guest vocal from Kelis. "Stay Together" ups the charm factor with saccharine psychedelia and harmonised backing vocals. "Baby Doll" rides on a punk bassline and mondo exotica chorus. "Tape You" begins as a slick street soul mantra about a guy videotaping his girl going through the motions and descends into two-minutes plus of orchestrated moans and groans. "Rock Star-Poser" is a mash of discordance and distortion. The record closes with the swaying "Bobby James" Shay's effects his best George Clinton barber-shop croon. With In Search Of, The Neptunes have set out on what promises to be an interesting journey. They just haven't decided on their destination.--Chris Campion

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