Album: N*E*R*D, Seeing Sounds (Star Trak)

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The Independent Culture

Pharrell Williams is one of modern pop's more quixotic talents – purveyor of beats brisk and bouncy in his Neptunes guise, but an attempt at fronting his own solo project resulted in one of the worst albums of recent years.

His most interesting work, though, remains his collaboration with Shae Haley and fellow Neptune Chad Hugo in crossover rock-soul combo N*E*R*D, whose latest offering was almost entirely written by Williams. Though not quite as impressive as 2004's Fly Or Die, it's clear that N*E*R*D still affords him the greatest freedom to experiment, drawing on influences as diverse as mariachi horns and Eighties pop-metal.

The lyrical themes are equally unbounded, though often mirrored: the Peeping-Tom ogling through "Windows", for instance, could be the star pestered by a stalker in "Yeah You". It's clever stuff, and makes you wonder why the rest of his output is less reliable.

Pick of the album: 'Everyone Nose', 'Sooner Or Later'