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Nils - The Nils

  by Andrew Carver

published: 5 / 1 / 2005



Nils - The Nils
Label: Select Label
Format: N/A

intro

Alex Soria, the leader of the influential Canadian punk band The Nils, died in December. Andrew Carver looks back over his legacy and at his band's often maligned 1988 self-titled debut album


On Dec. 13, 2004, Alex Soria stepped in front of a train in Montreal - his death was the sad close to a musical career with far too many lost opportunities. As leader of The Nils, a band often compared with Husker Du and The Replacements, Soria should have been the guiding light between a series of brilliant post punk albums. Instead, The Nils released only one full-lengther, long-deleted, on the Profile label during its lifetime. The self-titled album was recorded in New York by Chris Spedding following a pair of compilation appearances and two EPs. The album’s sound has been criticised in some quarters - Big Takeover supremo Jack Rabid, a longtime Nils booster, described Spedding as “out of it” in his review of a subsequent Nils compilation, 'Green Fields in Daylight' – but compared to the enervated production on many of its contemporaries, most of the album is quite punchy (why Spedding thought one of the tracks would benefit from more Casio is, however, an enduring mystery). Soria has the hoarse, insistent singing voice of a man being pursued, the guitar work by Soria and brother Carlos is strong, as is the rhythm work from longstanding bassist Guy Caron and drummer Jean Lortie. It doesn’t, however, have the rough energy of the aforementioned EPs; the difference is particularly noticeable on the two tracks from 'Sell Out Young', one of those EPs, which was rerecorded for the LP - 'Daylight', The Nils’ signature song, definitely lacks the energy of the original. What no production could dim is Alex Soria’s talents as a songwriter; his combination of melancholic lyrics and energetic riffing served as a template for post punk across Canada, and indirectly influenced grunge via Vancouver groups like Slow and Sons of Freedom. Fortunately, music from the EPs, compilation, radio sessions and live appearances have been collected on the beefy CD set, 'Green Fields in Daylight', compiled by Soria’s stalwart supporter Woody Whelan, and released on his Mag Wheel label. Included on the comp are versions of all but one tune from the album,'But For Now' . Mostly culled from radio sessions on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporations 'Brand New Waves' program, and a live show in Chicago, they offer a rough but hardy version of the album. Along with the six-song'Mala Leche' released by Alex Soria’s later group Chino, it’s a fitting, if far too short testament to Soria’s luminescent talent.



Track Listing:-


Picture Gallery:-
Nils - The Nils


Visitor Comments:-
778 Posted By: hockey is my game, montreal on 27 Jul 2015
This album is as good as anything the Nils had done in the past. Give a good listen and you will agree
774 Posted By: punkman, Montreal on 14 Jul 2015
Very impressed with this new record. Good songs and good playing. Great sounding mixes. Good job guys always been a fan.
771 Posted By: DB, Boston on 25 Jun 2015
The Nils finally have a new album...yes it is with out Alex...but Carlos does a good job keeping the songs in the Nils vain.



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features


Profile (2002)
Nils - Profile
Once described as having been to “punk what Big Star are to pop music”, the Canadian group the Nils were one of the most influential, but also most under-rated punk groups of the 1980’s. John Clarkson examines their history and legacy


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