It’s been a couple of years since Def Nettle first emerged and unleashed their debut single The Pills on the world, but they’ve finally made good on the ambition they expressed when we first met them back in 2022 by releasing their debut album ‘DN001’.
For those unfamiliar with Def Nettle they are a pulsating post punk outfit born out of the mind of musician and producer Glen Brady who has long roamed the globe under many musical guises – he was DJ Wool in New York indie-electro duo The Glass, and was also drafted in as a member of musical supergroup D.A.R.K. that included none other than Dolores O’Riordan of The Cranberries, he also mixed their debut album ‘Science Agrees’.
Beginning life as a sleek, home studio project Brady soon expanded the scope of the sound that he was creating, adding elements of hip-hop diatribes, punk dynamics and electro atmospherics. It was clear that the emerging vision for Def Nettle required additional personnel and Brady drafted in the likes of Jay Oglesby (drums), Joe Donegan (guitar) and vocalist Lisa Doyle amongst others to the creative mix.
With ‘DN001’ they have produced an album which when it hits absolutely delights. Don’t provides a delicious mix of 80s synths and polished pristine guitar licks to Brady’s ultra-cool vocal as he ponders the torments and elation of temptation in all its forms.
Early single The Pills gets a freshen up, with foreboding hooks reminiscent of The Cure’s 100 Years the sense of desperate urgency almost overwhelms. The goth-tinged Invisible is a whirligig of synths, bursting with irreverent black humour and a pulsating indie groove provided by guitarist Ronnie Carroll and bassist Ely Seigel.
Not everything works perfectly, there is a lyrical simplicity to Boat Race and Piss Take that jars ever so slightly, but you can forgive that when impassioned complexity grabs hold elsewhere. Most notably on the doom-laden Four Years, an extremely intense track born out of Brady dealing with the murder of an ex-girlfriend.
As Brady says of the track himself: “This is an honest and intense ballad of lost love, death and the injustice of violence against women but it’s also an expression of angst, frustration and helplessness within modern masculinity. It’s a tale of the profound impact that the murder of my ex had on me and the personal transformation that came in the aftermath of that event.”
War Machine provides a compelling conclusion. An embittered tirade that Fatima Mansions would have been proud of with Brady’s acerbic vocal delivering a treatise on arrogance and addiction (both personal and global). The recently deceased Andy Rourke of The Smiths provides a very classy bass underbelly to proceedings alongside a tapestry of swirling guitar courtesy of The Devlins’ Graeme Slattery, it’s an impressive finale to a gloriously spiky and sonically ambitious debut record.