Hailing from Haarlem near Amsterdam, Dutch post-punk band Nexda offer up an alternative to the post-punk we know and love. Their experimentation and embracing of the DIY ethos saw them use sax, organ, drums they’d made themselves, bits of metal and their voices to make music which was heavy on percussion and dub elements with spoken word rather than sung vocals. Words and Numbers is a compilation of two 12” singles, a 7” and a 7” flexi dsc that were all released in 1982. The fact that the tracks included here were from the same era makes it work as a coherent album.
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How ‘bout a post-punk band? You like those, right? Well, I like it when they wobble, ergo I like Nexda, a band who do the goods via not so straight-laced rhythms and trembling vocal pontifications. With their drum machines tied to melodic pantomime, the mood is stern and terse, like someone dancing confidently over a tightrope. Going at their aesthetic like kids given a bunch of hand-me-downs to play in a school music lesson, Nexus use organ, sax and clanging metals to ever-so-occasionally fill in the sparse songs they’ve crafted.
Who couldn’t be delighted? Cowbell and odd keyboard presets make the record’s first “Untitled” the joy it is, while the relentless squelching of “Threeseventfive” helps accompany a musical style that best reminds me of the spooky level on a 2D side-scroller. Really, post-punk is a serving suggestion as the band perpetuate songs and then experiment with just putting things in them. “Onetwentyone” doesn’t really go anywhere, its propulsive yet wayward drums a sublime red herring to a song that’s mostly spur-of-the-moment affectations. Hooks are absent; a good time is not. It’s a free-form jumble sale of self-made fun.
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