No Love Lost - The Nightingales Album Review
Ten years ago, two things seemed very unlikely - the premature death of radio-legend John Peel and the reincarnation of one of his all-time favourite bands, The Nightingales. It would have been fitting had both mavericks survived to see each other's futures, but fate cruelly removed one without the other and here we are with Robert Lloyd's illustrious and industrious battalion once more. "No Love Lost" is their first outing on Cooking Vinyl and their seventh in 30 years - prolific they are not, or at least not until they reformed in 2004 (they've released six since then).
Birmingham's most-celebrated post-punk-noiseniks gained a reputation for twisted relentless surrealism from the word 'go' when the 1982 debut-album, "Pigs on Purpose", hit the shelves at the local megastores and indie-shops, followed by classic singles "Paraffin Brain" and "Crafty Fag". Even after a string of singles on quirky scattergun major-label 'indie' Vindaloo, the band were passed over by the masses and promptly buried from memory. A 2001 compilation, "Pissed and Potless", summed up their then-fate in no uncertain terms.
For 2012, "No Love Lost" suggests things haven't changed for the better - thankfully, they have. The Nightingales haven't gained any new senior geriatric reticence nor lost any of the sporadic vitriol they possessed during their formative years, with pretty much all of the tracks as off-the-wall as you'd hoped for. Take the opening song for example. "Ace of Hearts" starts with the rather coarse declaration from Lloyd, "I'm as a dry as a dead girl's c*** in the desert", which is as descriptive as you could get if you're a bit parched, I guess.
Anyway, I can't see that sneaking past the censors in radio-land, nor a few others on here, but there are some total belters nonetheless. "Best of British Luck", "Someone For Everyone" and "The Done Thing" are the equal of anything the band has released in the past, while "Real Gone Daddy" and the closing "Dick the Do-Gooder" are as beautifully eccentric as The Nightingales can be. Think The Fall, think Pere Ubu, think Art Brut and think The Cardiacs, they're all reasonable reference-points, while the acoustically-driven "The World of Nothing Really" shits on Sheeran from a great height.
Whilst not a household name nor a playlist necessity these days, the very mention of The Nightingales in certain circles is enough to cause all manner of palpitations, much like this off-kilter hamper of eccentric alternatives. And no-one can bellow quite like Richard Lloyd - he sounds for all the world like a man wired up to the mains by his balls, and for that reason alone, you should consider aiming your next financial outgoings in the direction of this album.
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