Alternative music reviews

Nomad 67

The Art of Individuality Mar 2006

I grew up in the 70s. While my friends were listening to tales of topographic oceans and songs about giant hogweeds, I kept a near-secret store of vinyl gems. Many had holes in the covers because they were "cut-outs" (records that had sold so poorly that there were suplus copies which were imported from the USA just to get rid). At least The Velvet Underground were accepted but there was little respect for The Stooges or MC5. I bought the first Stooges album in a special mail order offer for 1 including an Atlantic sampler worth 99p. Well, punk came and went and I heard some great music but nothing ever quite surpassed early Stooges.

You get the idea, I'm talking about the greatest album and greatest band I've ever heard. My adolescence is just a dull ache in the past. But still I can't help yearning to once again experience that rush of blood of that The Stooges gave me. There have been moments that have recreated that sheer gut-wrenching joy in music since - gigs with Nirvana or Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine spring to mind.

That's history isn't it, but it gives you a context to judge what I am about to say. Imagine that I get to hear a band that actually play simple, loud songs with driving riffs and it all reproduces the same feelings as I felt when I was 14 - a teenager who found music as an escape from the constrained world he was trapped in. Imagine a young three piece band that just blow away the cobwebs that have built up in my head.

The songs are so simple lyrically. Better Off starts the album based mainly around the words:

I'm better off alone
I'm better off at home

Do you understand the power that a band can wring from those words? If you do then read the entire lyrics for the second track French Coffee:

Did you find your French Coffee?
Would you mind if I have some?
We do love your French Coffee
But we haven't got none

That's it, just add the explosives. This isn't James Blunt seeing a girl on the Tube, saying I have a plan and then forgetting about the plan (lyrical master that he is). let's skip to the track The Art Of Individuality and what we get is TV Eye with Ron Ashton guitar solo. It just keeps on coming: track after track of noise and energy. There's plenty of moments where there's added melodic guitar a la Nirvana to let your ears rest a bit before you are pummelled into submission again. Smudge is teenage angst that just screams Moshpit - St. Johns Ambulance should sponsor Nomad 67 when they pulverise a chorus.

This is possibly the most exciting album I've heard for a decade. It's like falling in love for the first time. It's just not fair that all those bands from Canada and the US have failed to take up Nirvana's challenge and a band from rural Worcestershire have understood what great music is all about. Not fair for the American continent perhaps, but it all makes sense to me.

I have this funny feeling that my friends are about to apply for me to be incarcerated in a Mental Institution on the strength of this review...

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