I wouldn’t normally even consider covering an album that’s already been out an entire month. The only reason I’m doing so is because, during a recent Twitter query I sent to Art Brut‘s Eddie Argos, the band gatecrashed our conversation to suggest “You could review our record too, while you’re at it.” Not many folk would get away with such bare-faced cheek, but with the fourteenth anniversary of John Peel’s passing just a few days ago, I feel it’s appropriate. The Nightingales were, of course, firm favourites of the celebrated late Radio One DJ, and let’s face it, what they did…well, it’s just a very Peel thing to do, right?
In their own ramshackle nature, ‘Wrong Headed Man‘ opens the album sounding nothing like you’ve heard them before, yet still somehow sounding exactly like them. Here they sit somewhere between a Damned B-side and The Residents. Not a problem, because as we all know, The Damned’s B-sides were always ace, but the band seem to have taken their whole ‘commercial-ish, but not quite enough to appeal to the mainstream public‘ ideal to a new stratosphere here, so ‘The World And His Wife‘ is like a less glossy version of Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster and there are definitely moments where you suspect The Blue Aeroplanes were paying attention in the eighties. Perhaps The Nightingales are returning the compliment on Perish The Thought.
‘Lucky Dip‘ is almost like a slowed down pyschobilly version of Depeche Mode‘s ‘Personal Jesus‘, at least for the first half of the song, before reverting to the kind of choppy guitar playing that Elastica would toy with on their 1994 hit ‘Connection‘. It’s a world away from ‘Paraffin Brain‘, it has to be said! Not that fans of early eighties Nightingales aren’t catered for, as ‘Zero At The Bone‘ sails its canoe close to that particular musical juncture.
‘Chaff‘ suggests Dead Kennedys or The B-52’s may well have been on Robert Lloyd’s radar when seeking inspiration for this, the band’s tenth album, while the short ‘Eventually’ provides the first real head-scratching moment, ostensibly just a succession of yelps over a cool seventies funk vibe.
It is, perhaps, when the band keep it low key though, that they truly shine. ‘(I’m A) People Person‘, for example, with its pretty Broken Family Band guitar stylings, is impossible to resist, before the absolutely riveting finale, ‘It Is‘, gives us an epic thunderbolt – a rousing showstopper to rival any band in musical history, let alone their closest peers.
A cracking addition to an already scintillating catalogue.
Perish The Thought is out now on Tiny Global Productions.