Reviewed by Jim Caligiuri, Fri., Sept. 9, 2016
Four years after his ambitious multimedia project Macro/Micro, essentially an hourlong music video, Beaver Nelson returns with a collection of songs that brings him back to the simple yet uncompromising style for which he's best remembered. Together with longtime co-conspirator/guitarist Scrappy Jud Newcomb, who's given producer credit this time out, Nelson offers compositions of recent vintage along with tunes that are older but were never put to tape. Since the overall sound of Positive recalls the power-pop and rootsy jangle of his Austin past, older songs stick out, hitting harder with hooky melodies. Stonesy rocker "Willing and Able" boasts Newcomb's best Keith Richards impression, while the somber, penetrating "Bad Movie" meditates on growing old gracelessly. A burnished cover of Steve Van Zandt's "Men Without Women" fits in skillfully among Nelson songs of an unsettled life. Positive ends perfectly with "Katie Bug's Lullaby," offering a magnificent sunset after a turbulent yet satisfying Beaver Nelson kind of day.