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- Elegant Daze - Songs From 1976-1986 by Nick Nicely
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When the internet was first up and running I once spent several evenings trying to find an mp3 of 'Hilly Fields (1892)' by Nick Nicely. It's one of those eerie, dreamy tracks that somehow is totally out of its time, transporting hazy late 60's marijuana soaked psychedelic pop to the post punk days of 1981. A record which was justifiably lauded at the time and purportedly kickstarted Andy Partridge (XTC) into starting the Dukes of Stratosphear project. Sensibly, 'Hilly Fields' opens up this pleasing compilation of Nicely's work from 1978 to 1986. Nicely was never quite able to repeat the trick but this comp still provides evidence of a singular eccentric pop mind. He dabbles with Broadcast style pop retroism on 'DCT Dreams', madcap electronic meanderings on 'Treeline' that sounds simultaneously ahead of its time and hopelessly dated. '49 Cigars' is another classic; sounding like Syd Barrett transposed to the synth age - its druggy melody married to all kinds of sonic detritus, laugh out loud brilliant in places. Skip the stylus further on and you get the title track which somehow reminds me of a home made take on 90's Depeche Mode. Throughout the album there are examples of home spun brilliance, a lone maverick holed up in some quiet hole in southern England producing slabs of sheer brilliance that will appeal to fans of experimental 60's pop as much as it will 80's synth pop, At times like the ace 'On the Beach' its like chill wave before chill wave was invented with haunting synths and a melody not dissimilar to Double's 'Captain of Your Heart' all fed through the sonic blender. File under: ummm....The Beatles, Syd Barrett, ELO, Broadcast, OMD, Silver Apples, Broadcast.
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