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TINY GLOBAL PRODUCTIONS

Nightingales

Four Against Fate

    An air of the unsettled is a staple of Robert Lloyd’s career, from The Prefects’s dank dexterity and jittery paranoia of the first Nightingales’ release, Idiot Strength, onward through four decades of top-notch recordings. If the unique persona of Lloyd and crew always came across on their ten albums and countless line-ups, it was largely as an acquired taste of the musical cognoscenti. Labels good and bad seemed to feel, at one point or another, a public duty and a point of pride to release a Nightingales album before returning to the business of business. Four Against Fate is remarkable. It’s the work of what’s now the band’s longest-serving line-up. The instrumental precision of any version of Nightingales has been one of the band’s defining hallmarks, but the psychic interplay of a group can take a few albums to kick in with full majesty - here’s proof of that. The rhythm section of Fliss and Andi functions now on a purely intuitive level.

    Jim’s work now ranks with that of any guitarist in modern ‘rock’ music, not just in originality, but also across an egalitarian mass of inspiration. Each member sings. Although Robert’s voice functions as the band’s superego, Fliss takes lead in several songs. Few bands today sound as much like a single unit as do Nightingales, but this group has the bonus of a distinct and credible musical language, exemplified by The Desperate Quartet, which comes across as both a medieval war march and the anthem of looming apocalypse.

    When at the song’s halfway point, American classical musician Clara Kebabian’s violin and Mark Bedford’s (of Madness) double bass overtake the Robert, Fliss, Jim and Andi, it’s a jawdropper of such intense perversity that it alone defies the listener to not play the album again from the start. Not that this album lacks ‘hits’ - The Top Shelf, Everything Everywhere All Of The Time, Devil’s Due and The Other Side are stunners. Robert claims Four Against Fate is the first of his album on which he skips no tracks on playback! Finally, the world has awakened to one of British music’s last treasures. After forty years of new labels, this is the first time Nightingales have released an album on the same label as their last full-length.

    Blue Orchids

    The Magical Record Of Blue Orchids

      While recording of last year’s “Righteous Harmony Fist”, Blue Orchids messed about with a few covers of insanely obscure low-fi garage / psych tunes. The influence of drug-addled oddities from the previous generation’s underground has been apparent in the work of Martin Bramah since the start of The Fall, due in part to the influence of the real-life subject of “No Xmas For John Quays”, whose record collection was so packed with US garage classics that the song about him was borne of a sort of jealousy on Mark E. Smith’s part - with a collection like that, every day’s Christmas!

      Few casual aficionados of rock music will know more than a song or two from this set - the likes of The Penny Saints and The Aardvarks and their kin not exactly being household names. In fact, of the seven ‘60s acts with songs covered here, none lasted more than a handful of singles. Complementing those songs are covers of songs by two more recent groups. The swirling keyboards of The Growlers’ Pavement And The Boot is distilled back to its fundamental garage essence, while Crystal Stilts’ two-minute original, Love Is A Wave, is slowed down and channelled back to the melodic pop wonder lingering beneath its Reid brothers buzzsaw and pays respect to the band, who’d themselves covered Blue Orchids’ Low Profile a few years back.

      Of special interest will be Addicted To The Day, the album’s key song, the words for which were recently found in a 1977 notebook of Bramah’s which at Mark E. Smith had borrowed and then scribbled down the ‘poem’ in thanks, to which Bramah added music. The haunting lines, “How could I have suspected my abysmal future / A doom which has haunted me / And turned me into a wreck and a parody”, are the centrepiece of the album, a concept compiled of bits and pieces of esoteric tunes, telling a tale of Faustian doom in a pact with forces of evil.

      The Magical Record Of Blue Orchids is released in a strictly limited edition while the band works on their next album of originals. 

      STAFF COMMENTS

      Barry says: 'The Magical Record...' is indeed magical, holding some of the most stylistically varied and texturally interesting pieces in the Blue Orchids considerable back catalogue. Dark, brooding covers like 'I'm a Living Sickness' mix perfectly with the more upbeat offerings, showing the true talents of a band who can turn their hand to anything, without any sign of faltering. Lovely stuff.

      Blue Orchids

      Skull Jam

        Hot on the heels of their recent album, "The Once And Future Thing," Blue Orchids are back with a surprising new 10" EP and an ongoing tour with the mighty Nightingales. This is their first EP in over twenty years and it spans every aspect of the band's sound and ideas. The title track, "Skull Jam" is a short slice of pop-noise which harkens back to the off-kilter scree of early songs like "Disney Boys." Their 1982 debut album had an embryonic recording of "Hanging Man," constantly revised through the years, including a nascent Brit-pop styled take performed with Craig Gannon of The Smith for Snub TV. This new version was recorded as a warm-up during the recording of their last album and mirrors recent live renditions, with a meteoric motorik vibe that the original never hinted at.

        Originally scheduled as the a-side and b-side of a 7" single, no one was happy with the necessity of editing "Hanging Man" down from its seven-minute length to meet the demands of the running time for a single, hence the decision to expand the single to an EP and include the song in its full glory. "The Devil's Answer" was a hit for Atomic Rooster back in the early '70s, and its inclusion here proves that Martin Bramah and crew can imprint their sound and vision even on the least likely tunes! But for many, the plum is "Work Before The Moon Falls." Written shortly before Bramah's original departure from The Fall, its lyrics were held back by Mark E Smith for a different tune, which became a standout track on the second Fall album, "Dragnet." The music, written entirely by Bramah, was given new words and released as the Blue Orchids' second single, "Work." "Work Before The Moon Falls" provides a hint of how The Fall might have sounded if Bramah had remained for their second album - much of which, uncredited (of course!) had music written by Bramah.

        FORMAT INFORMATION

        10" Info: Vinyl EP. Copies are on black or blue vinyl, randomly distributed


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