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Nightingales - Mind Over Matter

  by Adrian Janes

published: 21 / 5 / 2015

Nightingales - Mind Over Matter
Label: Louder Than War Records
Format: CD


Energetic but ultimately disappointing follow-up from Midlands mavericks, the Nightingales

With but a year elapsed since their last album, ‘For Fuck’s Sake’, the Nightingales return with the same line-up recorded in the same studio (Faust’s - bassist Andreas Schmid is the house engineer). It’s sad to report that, despite the benefits of stability, ‘Mind Over Matter’ often feels like what was left off ‘For Fuck's Sake’, a xerox of the previous inspired effort. ‘For Goodness’ Sake’ kicks things off promisingly, Fliss Kitson’s drums rocking and rolling, Alan Apperley’s guitar biting, and Robert Lloyd caustically growling. ‘The Only Son’ is driven by a guitar riff adapted from the horn line on Otis Redding’s ‘I Can’t Turn You Loose’ but also has an instrumental break with a completely different rhythm. Sailing forth upon an essentially choppy indie rock sound, the course of the Nightingales is often this continuing navigation between musical islands, at one moment landing on pop (‘Taffy Come Home’, with its lyrical nod to the Sweet’s ‘Blockbuster’), rock and roll (‘I Itch’ and ‘Bit Of Rough’) or jazz (‘But’). Yet the aptly-titled final track ‘Rampaging’ is also, in its musical single-mindedness, the most exciting one, lingering on its final riff like a locked groove. Nonetheless, despite the vigour and uniquely loose but tight feel to much of the playing and the raw strength and wit of Lloyd’s vocals (a similarly surly pleasure to Mark E. Smith), ‘For Fuck's Sake’ remains a much more successful effort to my mind. Even at just about thirty-six minutes long, ‘Mind Over Matter’ still feels like it contains some filler material (the incoherent and boring “For Different Folks’ and the pointless repetition in ‘Stroke Of Genius’, though there is vicious power in the latter’s wah-wah). Whereas on ‘For Fuck's Sake’ Lloyd rasped out rabid reflections on religion and war, here his inspiration lights upon things like ‘Great British Exports’, which complains about mediocre popular culture: “Everybody likes 'Midsomer Murders'/Everyone digs Mumford and Sons”. Such stereotyping is not especially true anyway, but more importantly, is it even worth getting so exercised about? There is also the admittedly amusing ‘Gales Doc’, a narration of either an actual journalist’s piece about the band, or a very good parody of one. Played with verve, the band’s methods are dryly deconstructed to the predictable but hilarious conclusion where the ploy of going quiet then loud is described as “always a crowd-pleaser, so we might as well do it now”, which of course they do. If this album was standing alone it would probably merit a higher rating, but compared to the emotional voyage of its predecessor it feels like treading water.

Track Listing:-
1 For Goodness Sake
2 The Only Son
3 The Man That Time Forgot
4 Ripe Old Age
5 Taffy Come Home
6 For Different Folks
7 Stroke of Genius
8 I Itch
9 But...
10 Gales Doc
11 Great British Exports
12 Bit of Rough

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Interview (2012)
Nightingales - Interview
John Clarkson speaks to Robert Lloyd of Birmingham-based punk/alternative band The Nightingales about their recently released latest album 'No Love Lost'


Photoscapes (2014)
Nightingales - Photoscapes
Bill Gray takes photographs of Birmingham-based punk/alternative band the Nightingales at a show in Glasgow

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