N.E.R.D., 'Seeing Sounds' (Virgin)

7
Seeing Sounds
Critical Mass
Label: Tooth & Nail/ Virgin

by David Marchese

"Spaz" isn't just the name of a N.E.R.D. single -- it's what Pharrell, Chad Hugo, andShae do all over the group's third album. Without warning, hard techno explodes into jazzy bridges; stiff quarter-note rhythms dissolve into Edge-y riffage; and a lyrical motley crew of Peeping Toms, playas, and suspiciously peppy club girls pop up to say their piece. Oh, there are also six amazing minutes of Hendrix-like splendor called "Sooner or Later." N.E.R.D. may not settle for one cowbell when 100 will do, but they kick like a bucket of Red Bull -- and go better with vodka, too.

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