When Birmingham punk band The Prefects split in 1979 some of the members went on to found The Nightingales. Throughout the eighties, despite an ever changing line-up, the band attracted plenty of positive feedback and reviews – notably from John Peel. They disbanded in the late eighties but still played occasional gigs before a full time reunion in 2004 – still led by original and constant member – singer and lyricist Robert Lloyd. The band now also features original Prefects guitarist Alan Apperley. This old-school punk pedigree is certainly evident on their new album No Love Lost.
Album opener ‘Ace of Hearts’ is a high energy bolt of pure punk rock – complete with plenty of attitude but also with a hint of old fashioned rock and roll on the vocal delivery and the guitar sounds. The track is a driving rocker from start to finish, a perfect opener and certainly one of the top tracks on the album. Track 3 ‘The Done Thing’ opens with a fantastic guitar pick, the feint sound of a mouth organ floating gently in and out over the original guitar piece as new layers of guitar gradually enter and embellish.
Another of the album’s standout tracks – possibly the best – the vocal takes the form of a low spoken commentary about the pitfalls of normality and settling for the average – “Forget your ideals and you can hope for happiness…small bets are a waste of time”.
‘Real Gone Daddy’ is an uptempo rocker again with an old-school vibe – the guitars are produced to give a nice 1950’s sound and the great female backing vocals also add to the retro feel. The unusual second half and outro of the song remind you to expect the unexpected!
Track 5 ‘Best Of British Luck’ is an excellently written jangly number with a rocking chorus – it might very well make a nice single – especially with a major football tournament coming up – “Yeah, I confess, I never had the best of British luck” – just in case the penalty shoot-out goes wrong…again.
Despite the title, ‘Say It With Flowers’ is a depressing little ditty about humankind’s failings. Song 8, ‘The Dishwater Kid’ opens with a buzzing guitar effect that gives way firstly to a nice powerful drum beat and then a tasty guitar riff. A brooding number, the downtempo verse features an almost Ray Winstone-style spoken vocal line – think British gangster movie – that then explodes in to some hard rocking riffs – like early Led Zeppelin – before further experimentation brings the track in another direction altogether, great stuff.
‘Someone For Everyone’ opens with a gentle swell of strings – the track sounds genuinely sweet and some excellent brass sections and vocal harmonies realy add to the feel good vibe – but there is always an underlying current of doubt or cynicism as to the theme apparent. ‘The World of Nothing Really’ is perfect in its simplicity – just vocals and some fine acoustic guitar playing. Closing number ‘Dick The Do-Gooder’ has a nice dose of fuzzy guitars and heads-down riffing. A rocking psychedelic outro makes it the perfect choice of track to close the album with.
Jam packed with lots of clever and colourful lyrics, it would be well worth tracking down a lyric sheet for the new album and there are plenty lyrics on the site for older material. Some tracks occasionally are lacking on melody – especially during verses – ‘Born Yesterday’ and ‘Sentimental Dunce’ being examples – but the lyrics are genuinely so interesting as to keep the listener on board.
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