One of the few people on earth who kinda deserves the tag ‘Legendary’, Nick Nicely burst onto the scene in 1982 with a remarkable sound which married Syd Barrett's Pink Floyd with synth-pop and the electronic pulse of Neu, Kraftwerk and Suicide. A sound that any baked psych band of note today would consider de rigeur but just imagine what it sounded like then. His single 'Hilly Fields' was and is one of the most remarkable and sinister pieces of music ever comitted to tape. Believe me - check it. But things didn't quite work out in the music biz for Mr Nicely and its only recently with the advent of re-issue culture has his music been rediscovered with the likes of Burger records and Captured Tracks have re-issues his stuff bringing it to a whole new audience.
I can't tell from the press notes whether this is a 'new' album or an album of unreleased tracks. Whatever it is its bound to be interesting. It contains 14 tracks ranging from shoegaze bliss to lo-fi baroque psychedelia and even contains a reworking of 'Hilly Fields'.
LP £11.99 LO108LP
LP on Lo Recordings.
CD £6.99 LO108CD
Digipak CD on Lo Recordings.
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It’s very hard to tell if this is new material from the legendary psych-gaze composer or a compilation of old stuff or something else entirely. All you need to know is that it is superb. Opener ‘HeadwindAheadwind’ is a perfect signpost for the rest of the record with an eerie new-agey type atmosphere and brilliant production that seems to take some influence from the likes of The Orb with oscillating electronics, vocals flying in and out of the mix and krauty metronomic drumming. A perfect encapsulation of how home-produced creativity can yield something otherworldly. ‘Rosemary’s Eyes’ uses the same space-rock influenced production techniques as the song wibbles and wobbles in and out of view.Unlike on the driftier ‘HeadwindAheadwind’, Nicely tacks on an almost singalong chorus as the song chops, cuts, cavorts, flips on its head. This is brilliant. BRILLIANT I TELLS YA!
Nicely’s talent is fitful, you do have to work hard to find the melodies within the off kilter production, ‘Wrottersley Road’ is another track that fades in and out of focus like listening to early Pink Floyd on a badly tuned radio but when you hit the station the melodies are sublime. ‘Whirlpool’ is like Syd Barrett in a waterfall, the music swirling, scary, Nicely isn’t doing anything that different from his early high water mark ‘Hilly Field’s (which re-appears in oddball ‘acoustic’ fashion at the end), ‘London South’ and ‘Raw Euphoria’ are jam-packed with his eerie brand of English psychedelia.
Not always an easy listen but contains some utterly terrific moments and awe inspiring arrangements. Gosh, any number of young psych bands should be listening to this to see what can be done sonically with some melodies and effects boxes.
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