Big Ned - Big Ned (4 stars)

Big Ned

(Optimo Music)
The third release and first album from this new label isn’t what anyone who still believes Optimo is just a club night will be expecting. The brainchild of D James Clark and John Murray (and band), Big Ned is a seedy, guitar-propelled soundtrack to all that’s sleazy in America. It comes as no surprise to find the duo are big fans of David Lynch and Angelo Badalamenti.

Forced along by a Nick Cave-like baritone, these songs are rarely cheerful but always utterly gripping, from the Birthday Party lurch of ‘Bad Angel’ to the Fall-like ‘Son of Dirt’. There’s also a garish, soul-crushingly minimal cover of the Stones’ ‘Paint It Black’, but it’s one of the less effective moments from a band who are impressively sure of their own collective persona.

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